DEKALB COUNTY, Ind. (WANE) – Whenever he’d hug or walk by them, he’d find a way to inappropriately touch them.
That’s what the girls later told investigators.
He also befriended them on social media and asked for photos of what they were wearing almost daily, the girls said. If they didn’t respond quickly enough to his messages, he’d become angry, they told investigators.
Once, he drove to a girl’s home and even became “aggressive” with her parents.
Those are the accusations against 50-year-old Steve Kaufman, a former Auburn area softball coach who started his own youth travel team, according to newly released DeKalb Superior Court documents.
Kaufman, who was hired as an assistant softball coach for DeKalb High School in December 2018 but resigned by April 2019, is accused of targeting multiple girls on the “Indiana Rip It” youth team he created.
The team catered to girls 14 and under.
DeKalb County prosecutors on Monday issued a warrant for Kaufman’s arrest on a Level 3 felony count of child seduction, a Level 5 felony count of child seduction and a Level 6 felony count of stalking.
While court records show Kaufman living in Auburn, his Twitter page lists him as currently living in North Carolina.
The charges against Kaufman stem from incidents that took place between January 2021 and February 2022, according to court documents.
One of the girls from Kaufman’s travel team at the time told investigators she became uncomfortable with the way he touched her. She said in court documents she told him “no” several times. She also told investigators in court documents he once tried to kiss her while at his home.
The girl also claimed Kaufman would use “emotional manipulation” if she did not respond to his messages.
The girl told investigators these interactions happened through organized softball practices, training sessions and games.
“There was also an instance where Kaufman told (the girl) that ‘what they had was special,'” one investigator wrote in court documents.
Another girl connected to Kaufman’s travel team also came forward and told investigators he would find ways to touch her in appropriately and would send her upwards of 50 messages and pictures a day.
This girl said in court documents she was uncomfortable with the touching as well as the number and content of the messages.
She added that Kaufman would comment on her looks in a sexual manner and that he would make threats about her playing time if she did not respond to his messages fast enough, court documents said.
Kaufman is accused of driving to this girl’s house to confront her about not responding to Snapchat messages he sent her. In the process, he ended up yelling at her parents, court documents said.
The girl told investigators in court documents she also saw Kaufman pin another girl on the team against a wall with his body in a shed when he thought nobody was around. This girl said his focus on her waned when he began focusing on another girl on the team, court documents said.
Investigators also spoke with a third girl on Kaufman’s travel team who offered similar stories as to the other girls, according to court documents.
She claimed in court documents Kaufman would find ways to inappropriately touch her and would bench her if she did not respond to his messages through social media fast enough.
“I believe all of the juvenile females with their statements of behavior, as they have a consistent pattern of behavior that Kaufman uses,” an Indiana State Police detective wrote in court documents. “I also believe them as some of the criminal accusations and behaviors were corroborated by independent witnesses.”
Kaufman has yet to be arrested, according to jail records.