Daniel Villa was arraigned Tuesday morning in Wrentham District Court, where he was expected to plead not guilty to charges of three counts of rape of a child over 14 and three counts of enticing a minor.
After making bond in Arizona Monday, former Walpole High School athletic director, head football coach and teacher Daniel Villa returned to Massachusetts unaccompanied on a commercial flight to face child rape charges.
Villa, 44, was arraigned Tuesday morning in Wrentham District Court, where he was expected to plead not guilty to charges of three counts of rape of a child over 14 and three counts of enticing a minor, according to his attorney Heather Baer.
Upon arriving at Logan Airport shortly after midnight Monday, Villa was taken into custody by Walpole and State Police, who were aware of his impending arrival, according to the Norfolk County District Attorney’s office.
He was transported to the Walpole police station to be booked on warrants for the rape of a child and enticement that had been issued for his arrest, according to the D.A.’s office.
Villa, an Arizona native, turned himself in to police Saturday night in Tucson, a day after Wrentham District Court issued a warrant for his arrest. He had gone to Arizona to spend Christmas with his family.
Walpole Deputy Chief Scott Bushway said the rape charges stem from physical contact Villa had with a female student-athlete at Walpole High over a three-month period in 2008. He said the teen is the only victim.
The allegations came to light when a parent of the student went to School Supt. Lincoln Lynch and Walpole police.
The parents of the girl, Bushway said, were alerted to her contact with Villa after discovering "inappropriate" text messages from Villa on their daughter's cell phone.
In a written statement, Lynch said he had received "a credible parent complaint related to the conduct of Mr. Daniel Villa."
Villa resigned from his positions at Walpole High on Dec. 23, hours after Lynch confronted him over the allegations and placed him on paid administrative leave.
Police and school officials have not disclosed details of the alleged crimes, but Bushway did say, "The charges speak for themselves."
Initially, Villa's attorney told police her client would be flying back to Massachusetts last Friday to turn himself in. When he failed to arrive on his scheduled flight, Walpole authorities issued a fugitive warrant, Bushway said.
"On learning ... that Arizona police were nevertheless seeking to arrest him on the Massachusetts charges, Mr. Villa turned himself in to local authorities," Villa's attorney said in the statement.
Villa lives with his wife and four children on Bubbling Brook Road in Walpole. He has been the high school's head football coach for eight years, compiling a 72-23 record with four postseason appearances. This year, his team capped an undefeated season with a Division 2 Eastern Massachusetts Super Bowl win.
Among the hardest hit were students and former Walpole High School football players, like Tim Pelletier who graduated in 2005 and played for Villa.
"He was a great coach, a great guy," Pelletier told WBZ-TV. "He was almost like a second father to all the players."
As an offensive guard, Villa played in the NFL from 1987 to 1998, spending six years with the Patriots. He also played with the Phoenix Cardinals, Kansas City Chiefs and Carolina Panthers.
He starred at Arizona State from 1984-86 before being drafted by New England.
The Walpole Times