By Jenna Nierstedt, Globe Correspondent
A former Chelsea High School football coach was convicted today on larceny charges for withdrawing thousands of dollars from the teamís booster club account to pay for personal expenses, prosecutors said.
A Superior Court jury found James Atkins, 43, of Revere guilty of five counts of larceny over $250 and one count of larceny by check, the office of Suffolk District Attorney Daniel F. Conley said. Atkins was acquitted of a sixth charge of larceny over $250.
His sentencing is scheduled for 9 a.m. tomorrow.
Prosecutors said Atkins, a Chelsea police sergeant currently suspended from duty and a former Medford High School football coach, used his position as coach of the Chelsea team and president of that teamís booster club to withdraw more than $8,000 from the teamís bank account between 2004 and 2007.
Withdrawal records indicated that Atkins withdrew $500 at an ATM in Revere; made three-figure withdrawals near the Foxwoods casino in Connecticut and the Seabrook Greyhound Park dog racing track in New Hampshire; and paid a $634 bar tab at the Champions Sports Bar at Bostonís Marriott Copley Place hotel.
In January 2007, at a meeting with Chelsea High School parents and the school's athletic director, Frank DePatto, Atkins agreed to repay $8,200 over a series of installments, prosecutors said. Instead, Atkins asked for a charitable donation from a respected community member to put toward his outstanding debt.
ďIt is always difficult when a police officer is found to have violated the law,Ē Chelsea's police chief, Brian Kyes, said in a statement.
Atkins's lawyer, Douglas Louison of Boston, maintained his client's innocence, saying he "is one of the good guys."
"I was very proud to represent Jim Atkins, and I think every witness who testified said they were proud to know and be involved with Jim Atkins," Louison said tonight. "No justice is done by convicting him of stealing money from the booster club he created and funded with his own personal monies.
"He put in over $50,000 of his own money into the program. It defies logic to say he stole money from the program."
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