The rape trial of former Brookfield gymnastics coach Steve Infante is underway in Middlesex Superior Court in Woburn, Mass., where the 52-year-old Infante is facing a multitude of sex charges.

The former New Milford resident allegedly assaulted two of his former students as far back as the 1990s.

One former student, now 34, had a sexual encounter that Infante initiated when she was 14, according to court documents.

The investigation into this woman's allegations reportedly uncovered numerous tales of alcohol use and sexually charged horseplay between young girls and Infante and his partner, Steve DiTullio, in a camp the woman attended as a girl.

The incidents are detailed in a search warrant application filed by Connecticut State Police as part of the investigation.

Police said such acts are a way pedophiles "groom" children for sexual relations, according to the July 2007 document.

In addition to having a long-running affair with the 14-year-old that investigators say resulted in an abortion when she was 17, Infante is accused of sexually abusing a second female student, according to police.

Infante, now of Milford, is charged with rape of a child, rape and indecent assault and battery on the former student, and battery on a second alleged victim, who was 16 at the time the assault allegedly occurred in the summer of 1993.

His trial began May 10.

In 1998, Infante was banned for life from coaching by USA Gymnastics, the sport's national governing board, after sexual misconduct claims surfaced from three former gymnasts at Olympia Sports Academy in Brookfield, which was owned by Infante.

Because all three girls were 16 when the relationships allegedly began, no criminal charges were brought against him.

At the time he was banned by USA Gymnastics, Infante owned Olympia and lived in New Milford.

Despite being banned, Infante continued his career. He ran a gymnastics camp, Five Star Gymnastics Camp in Massachusetts, with DiTullio.

Acton, Mass., Police Chief Frank Widmayer said his department's investigation identified as many as a half-dozen girls with whom either Infante or DiTullio allegedly had sex.

But because the statute of limitations had expired on several of the alleged incidents, the cases couldn't be prosecuted, Widmayer said.

Testimony is expected to be heard in the current rape trial from eight women who were Infante's former gymnastics students and who were allegedly sexually assaulted by him dating back to the 1980s.

DiTullio has been charged with perjury for allegedly lying to investigators. He will be tried separately.

Middlesex County District Attorney Thomas O'Reilly's office said Monday that the prosecutor wouldn't comment on the trial.

As to any possible arrest that might occur in Connecticut after the Massachusetts trial ends, Danbury State's Attorney Stephen H. Sedensky in Connecticut said Monday that he is "aware of the situation with Mr. Infante. However, I cannot discuss any investigations, pending or not."

Contact Susan Tuz at stuz@newstimes.com

or 860-355-7322.