MARTINEZ -- A longtime youth baseball coach called himself a "broken man" Monday afternoon and revealed his own childhood molestation at the hands of his Scoutmaster shortly before being formally sentenced to 10 years, eight months in prison for lewd and lascivious acts on a child under age 14.

"Your honor, I stand before you a broken man," Joel Kaufman told Judge Bruce C. Mills as he sat at the defense table wearing a long-sleeved, untucked dark blue dress shirt over dark pants. "I apologize to the victims I've hurt and to their families, as I know their pain."

Last week, Kaufman, an Orinda resident who coached at Bishop O'Dowd High School in Oakland and Palo Alto High School as well as Little League and traveling teams, and who operated batting cages in San Leandro, pleaded guilty to four felony acts of child molestation from 2005-2012. During the investigation, unnamed accusers came forward documenting 30 years of abuse by Kaufman.

Kaufman, 53, said "baseball was my escape" in the wake of his abuse as a boy. He also said that after the molestation, he engaged in decades of substance abuse to help himself sleep at night.

"I take full responsibility and hope someday I can be forgiven," he said.


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Three victims addressed the court before the sentencing. One man, a former player on one of Kaufman's teams who said after the hearing that he did not want to be publicly identified, said the abuse led to a dysfunctional lifestyle.

Another man, who also wished not to be publicly identified, glared at Kaufman from the witness stand while he read his statement.

"You broke our trust. You broke our hearts," the man said. "Your crimes against all our sons have put a heavy stone on their backs."

At the time Kaufman was arrested, he was the coach of the California Smoke, a premier 18-and-under traveling team based in San Jose. Kaufman, who had been out of custody on $350,000 bail, talked of "extreme food allergies" that could make prison a dangerous place for him. But he said he was willing to serve his sentence.

"I truly want to be remembered for the good and not the bad," he said.

After his statement and the formal reading of his sentence, Kaufman was asked by a court bailiff to stand. He was then placed in handcuffs, which closed with a sharp metallic click.

Contact Gary Peterson at 925-952-5053. Follow him at Twitter.com/garyscribe.