Enrique Soto, one of baseball’s most prominent trainers in the Dominican Republic for the last two decades, has been sentenced to 10 years in prison after being convicted of charges of sexually assaulting two boys that were part of his academy 10 years ago, according to a report that first aired Monday night in the Dominican Republic on Noticias Sin.
Soto was convicted nearly two years after the two players, who are now adults, pressed charges against Soto. According to the Noticias Sin report, Jorge de los Santos, one of the lawyers for the prosecution, said the decision was a triumph, but he is prepared for an appeal from Soto. Soto is not in custody and has not yet reported to prison.
The players last year spoke with Alicia Ortega of Noticias Sin, which ran an in-depth report on their allegations and graphic descriptions of their allegations. A third player in Ortega’s report who also claimed Soto assaulted him, Yunior Pena Peguero, was stabbed to death on June 26, 2011, outside of a shop in Bani before the story aired on July 4.
Soto, who worked as a scout for the Athletics in the 1990s, became one of the most powerful trainers in Latin America. His program, which is based out of Bani, produced Miguel Tejada, Willy Aybar and Erick Aybar. He also trained shortstop Esteilon Peguero, who signed with the Mariners in December 2010 for $2.9 million, which would have been the largest bonus of the year for an international amateur player, but Peguero’s bonus was later reduced to $1.1 million for undisclosed reasons. Rangers catcher Jorge Alfaro, who signed for $1.3 million out of Colombia in 2010, and Seattle’s Jharmidy DeJesus, who signed for $1 million in 2007, also trained with Soto.
Soto, who was in attendance at Major League Baseball’s showcase in San Cristobal on Jan. 15, was also in the news last year. Baseball America reported in May that MLB’s Department of Investigations had discovered that his son, George Soto, used a false age to appear four years younger when he signed for $700,000 with the Mariners in 2007. One of his other sons, Leance Soto, signed with the Blue Jays for $675,000 in April 2005 when he was 19.