PHOENIX (FOX 10) -- A former baseball coach is sentenced to 25 years in prison, a month after pleading guilty to sexual conduct with boys.
Chandler Police began investigating 54-year-old Richard Gallegos back in 2009, when he was accused of molesting boys between the ages of 11 and 14. Gallegos spoke before being hit with that 25-year sentence, but first, he heard from his victims and their families, and it was an emotional day in court that led to justice.
"My biggest regret is that we ever crossed paths with him," said one mother, who went on to say she thought she could trust Gallegos. Instead, she said he lied about his baseball connections to get close to underage boys. Boys like her son, who was one of Gallegos' victims.
During Gallegos' sentencing, the former coach, who volunteered for an Ahwatukee club and Seton Catholic Preparatory High School more than 10 years ago, finally faced his victims and their families.
"This man is dangerous and a threat, and he needs to be locked up behind bars for as long as you see justifies his actions," said one person.
"You took advantage of the most innocent children. Children that you should have protected," said a woman.
When allegations first surfaced in 2009, Chandler Police said detectives didn't have enough evidence to charge Gallegos until June of 2018, when court documents say former players of Gallegos came forward, telling investigators they had sexual encounters with him when they were between 11 and 14. That led to his arrest.
Gallegos spoke out before taking his sentence.
"I'm deeply sorry," said Gallegos. "I deserve to go to prison at this point in my life. That's where I belong."
When Gallegos pleaded guilty last month, several additional charges were dismissed in exchange. He'll be on sex offender probation when released.