Former coach criminally charged in naked ‘fat test’ case

Rhode Island Attorney General Peter Neronha. File photo by Steve Klamkin WPRO News

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — A successful Rhode Island high school basketball coach who authorities say for years asked male student-athletes to remove their clothes while alone with him so he could check their body fat was criminally charged on Thursday.

Aaron Thomas, 55, who coached at North Kingstown High School from the 1990s until he resigned last year, faces second-degree child molestation and second-degree sexual assault charges, Attorney General Peter Neronha and North Kingstown police Chief Patrick Flanagan said in a statement.

Arraignment is scheduled for Aug. 19.

A message was left for Thomas’ lawyer, John E. MacDonald. MacDonald has previously said his client denied unlawful conduct and the tests designed to help student-athletes improve their performance were voluntary and required written parental consent.

Although Thomas is alleged to have performed the tests on multiple students, the charges relate to alleged sexual contact with two, authorities said. One was under the age 14 at the time of the alleged crime that occurred between September 2000 and February 2002, authorities said.

The other case dates to some time between September 2019 and February 2020, they said.

The criminal investigation that started in November involved interviews with more than 30 former students, as well as teachers, coaches, administrators, and medical professionals.