PORTLAND -- Witnesses heard a boy screaming for help in a Northwest Portland building Sunday evening and led police to the apartment of a basketball coach, who was arrested on assault and kidnap accusations.
Police were dispatched just before 6 p.m. to the 911 report of someone holding a teenage boy against his will inside the apartment at 610 NW Davis Street.
When officers arrived, witness John Blair told them the boy had tried to run from an apartment, and then the suspect, 54-year-old Leslie Lewis, grabbed the boy by the neck and pulled him back in, according to court documents obtained by KGW.
Police knocked on the door of the unit and Lewis opened the door only slightly. But an officer could see a boy inside, nearly naked and trembling, the probable cause affidavit showed.
Lewis, 54, was arrested and detectives from the county child abuse team took over the investigation. The 13-year-old child was taken safely from the apartment. He did not suffer serious injuries.
Lewis faces several charges, including first-degree kidnapping, first-degree criminal mistreatment, using a child in display of sexually explicit content, and interfering with a making a police report.
The boy told investigators that Lewis whipped him with a belt and photographed him naked. He said he tried to escape, but Lewis put him in a headlock.
Blair told police he called 911 after finding the boy wearing only his underwear and “screaming for his life.”
“I asked Leslie what was going on," Blair said. "He said, ‘I’m just having a spat with my friend,' and I said, 'It looks like more than that.’”
A second 911 caller reported hearing the boy yelling, “Help me...get me out...let me go.”
KGW did a background check, which revealed that Lewis has a long criminal record dating back to 1984. It includes felony theft, but no other sex abuse charges.
Lewis reportedly coaches in a program called "Above the Rim Basketball League" in Portland. The victim told investigators that's how they met before Lewis invited him to his apartment. Police worry other children may be victims. The program often used the basketball courts at Woodlawn Park in Northeast Portland.
KGW did not find information about any "Above the Rim" programs in Portland. However, there is a program based in Seattle called Above the Rim Project which, when contacted, told KGW that it did not have any affiliation with Lewis. The website states that the program was designed to help youth rise above the daily challenges of succeeding in life on and off the basketball court.
Anyone with information that may help the investigation or questions about other possible victims was asked to contact Detective Mace Winter at (503) 823-0182.