PITTSBURG -- A Brentwood man who coached girls softball teams in East Contra Costa County pleaded not guilty today to two felonies and a misdemeanor involving allegations of sex crimes against an underage girl.
Ryan Frits, 37, entered his plea before Contra Costa County Superior Judge Theresa Canepa, who denied a defense request to lower his $160,000 bail. The judge set a June 27 preliminary hearing date.
Frits, the father of seven children, was arrested May 31 after an investigation by Brentwood police. The charges include one felony count each of sexual penetration of a minor and oral copulation of a minor, and one count of misdemeanor child molestation. The incidents allegedly occurred on May 30 and involve one victim.
Frits is a longtime softball and former soccer coach in East Contra Costa.
The criminal charges Frits faces are not related to inappropriate behavior that involved sending thousands of text messages to two different underage girls. The families of the two girls -- one of whom was 12, the other 13 at the time -- took out a restraining order against Frits after learning about the text messaging.
Frits formerly coached teams in the Delta Baseball & Softball League and also served on its board of directors, before he left in 2007. He later coached Hotshots, a girls fast-pitch, traveling softball team, for about a year until the board of directors removed him in 2010 after learning of inappropriate behavior with
At today's proceeding, deputy District Attorney Derek Butts disclosed additional details about the second text-messaging incident that occurred in May 2010 in response to a request by court-appointed defense attorney Paul Rives for lower bail. The defense attorney cited Frits' lack of a criminal background and community ties.
The second girl involved in the text-messaging incidents told investigators that Frits had also given her inappropriate back rubs and hugs during sleepovers, Butts said.
Several woman who know the girls involved in the text-messaging incidents attended the hearing. One of them, whose daughter is friends with the girls whom Frits text-messaged, said she was pleased that bail was not lowered.
"We're very thankful," Brentwood resident Monica Malcoit said outside the courtroom. "We are very supportive of the girls and what they've been through."
A man who apparently is a supporter of Frits also attended the hearing but declined to comment.
Contact Eve Mitchell at 925-779-7189.