PORTLAND -- People who heard the yells of a boy shouting for help in a Northwest Portland building led to the arrest Sunday evening of a basketball coach on assault and kidnap accusations.
Police were dispatched about 5:40 p.m. to an apartment at 610 NW Davis St., after a caller reported someone in the building was holding a teenage boy against his will. A second caller said the boy was yelling, Help me!
When officers arrived, a man told them he saw a boy wearing only underwear trying to run from an apartment, and then a man ran up to the boy, grabbed him by the neck and pulled him back into the apartment, according to court documents obtained byKGW.
The officers went to the unit pointed out by a witness and knocked on the door. The affidavit of probable cause said that Leslie Lewis opened the door only slightly but an officer saw a boy inside, nearly naked and trembling.
Lewis was arrested and detectives from the county child abuse team took over the investigation. The child, 13, was taken safely from the apartment. He did not suffer serious injuries.
The boy told investigators that Lewis had whipped him with a belt and photographed him naked. He said he tried to escape, but Lewis put him in a headlock.
Lewis, 54, faces several charges, including first-degree kidnapping, first-degree criminal mistreatment, using a child in display of sexually explicit content, and interfering with a making a police report.
KGW also did a background check which showed Lewis has a long criminal record that dates back to 1984 and includes felony theft, but no other sex abuse charges.
Lewis reportedly coaches in a program called Above the Rim Basketball League in Portland. The victim told investigators that's how they met before Lewis invited him to his apartment. Police worry other children may be victims. The program often used the basketball courts at Woodlawn Park in Northeast Portland.
The web site for the Above the Rim Project states that the program was designed to help youth rise above the daily challenges of succeeding in life on and off the court. It says that community leaders across the country are carefully selected to work with young, talented basketball players. There is no information about Lewis on the site, nor any Portland affiliate of the organization.
Anyone with information was asked to contact Detective Mace Winter at (503) 823-0182.