KINGSTON — Christopher Walsh helped create the Luzerne County Lightning basketball league last year with two other men.
The league was made up of 16 teams of boys and girls that traveled to tournaments in and around the Wyoming valley, but Walsh`s co-founders say he was stealing money from the league, enough money that it kept the kids from traveling to the final tournament of the season.
No words from Christopher Walsh as he turned himself in to face theft charges at a Magistrate`s Court in Kingston.
Walsh was one of three co-founders of the Luzerne County Lightning, a traveling youth basketball league based out of Kingston.
Now he`s accused of stealing more than $6,000 from the league.
“I coached a boys team that struggled to pay for every single tournament they could go to, that struggled to pay for transportation everywhere they could go, that struggled for everything they did this year,” said coach and attorney Peter Moses.
Peter Moses is a coach in the league and represents Walsh`s co-founders.
They say Walsh didn’t pay bills that the league owed to businesses and that he didn`t leave enough money for the kids to pay for their final tournament of the season.
“We had a lot of upset parents. We had a lot of upset kids. These kids love to play basketball. They really do. They love to get into this,” said Lightning co-founder Jack Robinson.
According to court papers, Walsh is also accused of transferring money from the league into his own accounts. Now the Lightning`s co-founders hope kids will still sign up for the season ahead despite the money problems from this past year.
“We hope all the parents bear with us. Understand that we had 30 coaches. This was one coach, one person that did this, not the organization,” said Robinson.
Walsh works as an eighth grade history teacher at the West Hazleton Elementary Middle School. It’s still unclear if these charges will affect Walsh’s teaching job in the Hazleton Area School District.
Walsh is free on bail tonight following his arrest in Luzerne County.
Tryouts for the next Lightning season will take place at the end of the month.