Robert Lawrence

Manchester football coaching great Robert Lawrence in an undated photograph.

A Manchester sports standout who coached a city Pop Warner football team to a national championship in 1973 has been accused of abusing children at the Youth Development Center in Manchester while employed there in the 1970s.

Robert Lawrence, who coached the Manchester Vikings for 15 years, was named this past fall in two of the hundreds of lawsuits brought against the state. The civil lawsuits and criminal indictments portray decades of sexual abuse at the YDC, the state’s youth detention facility.

Manchester Vikings coaching staff

This photograph from Manchester Vikings material shows Robert Lawrence with other staff members of the Pop Warner team from the 1970s. Front row from left to right: Butch Joseph, Don Beleski, Co-Coach Lawrence and Bill Angers. Back row: Co-Coach Walt Rozmus, Bob Nolet, John Trisciani, Jack Sullivan and Paul Harty.

Lawrence and Levesque

This undated photograph shows Robert Lawrence with his stepdaughter, Claudette Levesque, who was his main caretaker in his later years. She says the allegations against Lawrence don’t jibe with “the loving person that we knew.”