Former Natomas softball coach sentenced for sending inappropriate messages to underage girl

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NATOMAS, Calif. (KTXL) -- A former Natomas softball coach is behind bars after he was accused of sending inappropriate messages to an underage athlete years ago.

Selena Sanchez, just 14 years old at the time, thought it was an innocent conversation with her 35-year-old coach, David Espinoza, who was working for the Natomas Girls Softball League.

"We were on Facebook just chatting," she said Tuesday in an interview with FOX40.

Sanchez is now 21 but her former coach was sentenced Monday after a seven-year investigation.

She said she remembers those text messages like it was yesterday. Her father, Bobby Sanchez, saw the disturbing conversation.

"I just peeked over to look at the messages, see who she was chatting with, and that's when I caught it," he said. "I saw the word sex."

“Scary for me because I wasn't expecting him to respond like that," Selena said.

Bobby said he was “irate” and now feels he stepped in just at the right time before any physical harm was done.

"I caught it right at the beginning of everything," Bobby said. "I wanted to physically get him myself.”

But instead, he contacted police.

"Anyone whose gonna prey on children, you can't let up on them," he told FOX40.

Espinoza pleaded no contest to three counts of soliciting a minor for lewd conduct and was sentenced to 270 days in prison and five years on probation.

The Solano County District Attorney's Office characterized the sentence as "hefty."

Bobby had the chance to face Espinoza Monday in court as he read these words:

There is absolutely no excuse for that type of behavior from a grown man to a minor. ...

... For me as a person, I will never forgive you. But with your actions, you will have to answer to God.

Selena said she hopes if other kids are put in her situation, they will tell their parents immediately.


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