ROSEVILLE (CBS13) – A 24-year-old Roseville man was arrested Wednesday night and accused of abusing the players enrolled in the basketball academy he ran out of his home.
Francis Amiteye Ngissah was arrested on suspicion of child abuse involving cruel corporal punishment and willful cruelty, battery and false imprisonment, according to the Roseville Police Department.
Four of the alleged victims came to the police department Tuesday to report having been subjected to unusual physical punishment. They were enrolled in CCSE Prep Academy, an organization advertised as a private college preparatory school for basketball athletes that listed Nigissah as the school president, and were boarding with Ngissah at his home on Woodleaf Circle.
Police say Francis Ngissah ran the program from this home. There were still boxes of basketball sneakers visible in the trash on Thursday. But behind the doors, police say he abused his own players.
“I know that’s not on the curriculum list,” Roseville Police Det. Sgt. Darin DeFreece said.
What allegedly happened in this Roseville home is a far cry from the promise of a college basketball scholarship.
“It’s a shame,” DeFreece said. “You wouldn’t expect to see something like that happening around here.”
Ngissah is accused of abusing at least six of his players, ages 15-20. Four went to police on Tuesday to report the allegations that he tied them up for hours and even put clothes pins on their nipples.
“You have to endure physical pain in order to become a better basketball player,” DeFreece said Ngissah told his players.
But when the numbers of students in the program dropped from 12 to just four, the remaining players say they’d had enough and went to the cops.
“These kids are highly motivated to become great basketball players,” DeFreece said.
He also reportedly threatened to kick the players out of the program.
If they weren’t in the program then they were going to have to go back home, and in two of the circumstances that was going to happen quickly,” DeFreece said. “They were going to have to go back to France.”
The future of the young men remains unclear. Several are from overseas, two as far away as France and Brazil. Now, they’ll most likely be sent home, possibly leaving their hoop dreams behind.
“It can unfortunately happen anywhere,” neighbor Nancy McCurry said. “This is the society that we live in and it’s just really sad.”
According to police, some of these players were legitimate prospects. One of them stands 6 feet, 10 inches tall.
Ngissah was booked into the Placer County Jail and released after posting $100,000 bail. Three juveniles were released to the custody of child protective authorities and the young adult made other living arrangements, police said. No other students were living at Ngissah’s home at the time of the arrests.
Detectives believe that there may be additional victims who had already left the program. Anyone with information is asked to call the Roseville Police Department’s investigation unit at (916) 774-5070.