Former coach pleads guilty to 6 counts of sexual abuse

A former Einstein High School coach pleaded guilty yesterday to six counts of sexually abusing five female students.

Andre Kelley, 28, of the 10600 block of Brixworth Court in Damascus faces up to six years in prison when he is sentenced Jan. 21 by Circuit Judge Durke C. Thompson.

Kelley and his attorney, Barry Helfand, made brief responses during the 15-minute proceeding yesterday as Judge Thompson asked if he understood the consequences of the plea bargain.

Kelley, who remains free on $75,000 bond with provisions he have no contact with the victims or other minors, pleaded guilty to three counts of child abuse, two counts of fourth-degree sex offense and one third-degree sex offense.

Mr. Helfand has said the sexual incidents, some occurring at high school sports events starting in 1993, were consensual. Students, former students and acquaintances, who have spoken about Kelley’s good character, are expected to speak in his favor at sentencing.

The maximum sentence could have been 57 years, but guidelines call for up to six years in prison because of Kelley’s otherwise clean background.

Kelley, who was hired by Montgomery County schools as an instructional aide in August 1993, was placed on paid administrative leave when the first charges were filed in May after a teacher reported rumors about sexual incidents. He was subsequently fired.

Friends of the track and wrestling coach described him as dedicated to education and inspiring students to excel and go on to college. They said numerous Einstein students flirted with Kelley and threw themselves at him.