Group removes arrested coach

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Margaret Plevak/CSI Media
Friday, May 18, 2012
— Parents of young wrestlers coached by an Elkhorn man suspected of child enticement are having a difficult time explaining the situation to their children, a wrestling club official said.

"We were completely shocked and devastated," said Travis Showalter, vice president of the Elkhorn Wrestling Club. "The person that you believed and trusted, this has come to the surface, and you don't know who this person really is."

Steven Springsteen-Hensel, 31, Elkhorn, made an initial appearance in Walworth County Court on Thursday afternoon and faces felony charges of child enticement and attempted sexual assault of a minor.

Springsteen-Hensel had been on the wrestling club's board of directors and was a youth wrestling coach. He also was a director of the Southern Lakes Wrestling Center, 230 W. Evergreen Parkway, Elkhorn, where the club has practiced, Showalter said.

Board members are reaching out to parents of kids in the club. One of the most difficult things has been for parents to talk to their children about Springsteen-Hensel's absence, Showalter said, who has himself spoken to his 8-year-old son, a club member.

"It's difficult to explain what Mr. Hensel's being charged with, and you've got to kind of make it so that he can understand it, yet it doesn't introduce him to a whole world that an 8-year-old doesn't need to know about," Showalter said.

Delavan police arrested Springsteen-Hensel on Tuesday as he entered the grounds of Phoenix Middle School, 414 Beloit St., Delavan, with the alleged intent of meeting with a minor for sex, according to a Delavan Police Department news release.

The minor actually was an undercover Delavan police officer, according to the release.

Prosecutors said Springsteen-Hensel had sent sexual text messages to a person he thought was a young boy, saying he would pick up the boy at the school in his vehicle.

In court Thursday, a bond representative for Springsteen-Hensel said the defendant has lived in the area for 24 years, had two degrees from Gateway Technical College, is self-employed and has no prior criminal record.

Walworth County Judge James Carlson ordered Springsteen-Hensel held on a $15,000 cash bond, noting comments from the assistant district attorney that the defendant's address has changed often.

Bond conditions include no cellphone or computer use and no contact with minors, including those at Southern Lakes Wrestling Center.

Springsteen-Hensel had been with the 27-year-old Elkhorn Wrestling Club for 10 years, Showalter said. The club has a membership of 50 to 60 children, from kindergarten through eighth grade. Showalter described Springsteen-Hensel as being motivated and positive, with a passion for wrestling.

Showalter said the wrestling club board held an emergency meeting Wednesday after hearing of the arrest and voted to remove Springsteen-Hensel from any involvement with the club.

Springsteen-Hensel's address in Elkhorn was not clear Thursday. A man who called The Gazette said the man's parents, not Springsteen-Hensel, live at the address listed by police for Springsteen-Hensel.

Delavan police continue to investigate and ask that anyone with information about criminal activity by Springsteen-Hensel contact their local police department.

The Walworth County District Attorney's Office has not yet filed a criminal complaint. Springsteen-Hensel's preliminary hearing is scheduled for 1 p.m. Wednesday.

Last updated: 8:19 pm Thursday, December 13, 2012

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