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It's every parent's worst nightmare: a youth soccer coach who gained an Elk River family's trust allegedly sexually assaults the family's teenage daughter, driving a former star player to the verge of suicide.

"I felt ashamed," the alleged victim, now 18, testified Tuesday in Sherburne County court. "It didn't come up in conversation and I didn't want to talk about it."

Eric James Hawkins, 45, a fixture for years in Elk River youth soccer, is charged with two counts of criminal sexual conduct -- in Hennepin and Sherburne counties -- for allegedly sexually assaulting his former player, beginning when she was 14 years old, according to court documents.

Hawkins, who was removed from his job as the Rockford High School boys soccer coach 11 months ago after allegations were made public, faces up to 30 years in prison if convicted of first-degree criminal sexual conduct.

In a shaky voice between sobs, the alleged victim told the jury that Hawkins, while driving the girl to a soccer game, "unzipped his pants and exposed himself to me." Hawkins then forced the girl to touch him, she said.

"I didn't want to," the girl testified. "I said, 'Gross. No.'"

"He took out his wallet and gave me $25," she testified. She said Hawkins then told her, "Go get yourself something."

On various occasions, she said, Hawkins kissed her, touched her breasts, came to her house when nobody else was home and asked if he could watch her shower.

"I didn't say anything," she testified, "because I was so embarrassed" and felt "like everything was my fault."

For three years, the girl told no one. She cut her wrists on multiple occasions and took pills, she testified. Her grades suffered. Once a promising star for the Elk River High varsity team, she quit soccer before returning to the game last fall.

The girl was "scared, confused; she stuffed it inside," said prosecutor Leah Emmans.

Then, in 2006, when the girl learned that her younger sister had been invited to spend a night at the Hawkins' Elk River home, she "lost it," Emmans said. The girl said she began "cutting myself more" before her mother told her she was going to a hospital. She eventually told her story to a social worker, who notified authorities.

Hawkins, who is married and has children, was banned by the Minnesota Youth Soccer Association (MYSA) at the time of the alleged assaults for taunting and abusive sideline behavior at games. Hawkins agreed in Hennepin County District Court in 2006 to pay $220,000 as part of a defamation-suit settlement to the MYSA.

But he had no criminal background or requirement to list the MYSA ban in a background check. There were no red flags for officials at Rockford High or Robbinsdale Cooper High School, where Hawkins worked three years ago as a volunteer with the boys soccer team.

Showing respect for the alleged victim's fragility on the witness stand, defense attorney Mark Jason Miller told the jury that accusations of this nature start "rolling down the hill, picking up speed and nobody wants to get in the way."

Hawkins' trial is expected to end next week.

Paul Levy • 612-673-4419