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RI CRIME

NBA skills trainer Robert McClanaghan arraigned in R.I. on Boston rape, drugging charges

The 43-year-old Warwick man will be held until Boston police arrive to take him to court. He was arrested Friday by members of the Boston Police Sexual Assault Unit, Boston Police Fugitive Unit, and Warwick Police Department on a warrant issued Thursday out of Boston Municipal Court.

Robert McClanaghan, 43, at his arraignment Monday morning in District Court in Warwick, R.I.Amanda Milkovits/Globe Staff

WARWICK, R.I. — A Rhode Islander who is a nationally known skills trainer to NBA players was arraigned Monday as a fugitive from a criminal case in Boston involving rape and drugging charges.

Robert McClanaghan, 43, said little as he appeared with his lawyer, Dan Griffin, in Kent County District Court. Despite Griffin’s offer for McClanaghan to immediately leave with family to face the charges in Boston, Magistrate Joseph P. Ippolito Jr. ordered him held until Boston police arrive to take him to court.

“Not on this level of charges,” Ippolito said to Griffin, as McClanaghan’s relatives looked on in the courtroom.

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McClanaghan was arrested Friday by members of the Boston Police Sexual Assault Unit, Boston Police Fugitive Unit, and Warwick Police Department on a warrant issued Thursday out of Boston Municipal Court. He was arrested on charges of rape and drugging for intercourse related to a Nov. 3 incident in downtown Boston.

Police provided no specific details about where the alleged rape occurred, but issued a warning about so-called date-rape drugs with its announcement of McClanaghan’s arrest.

“The Boston Police Department advises the public of the dangerousness of scentless, colorless, and tasteless drugs such as Rohypnol, also known as roofie, being placed in the drinks of unsuspecting victims,” police said. “Other drugs commonly used in a similar fashion are GHB (gamma-hydroxybutyric acid) or Ketamine. These drugs and substances can cause disorientation, confusion, temporary paralysis, or unconsciousness, along with a host of other symptoms, leaving the potential victim vulnerable to the intentions of the suspect.”

The Warwick police prosecutor did not elaborate on the charges in court Monday, but told the judge that the Boston police expect to take McClanaghan on Tuesday.

Griffin and McClanaghan’s family left court Monday without answering questions from the media.

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McClanaghan started his career as a physical education teacher and assistant basketball coach at Bishop Hendricken, a private, all-boys school in Warwick, the Globe reported last month.

There, he met current Celtics coach Joe Mazzulla, who as a high school freshman in 2003, was essentially McClanaghan’s first client.

From his start working with the Hendricken Hawks, McClanaghan launched into the NBA, training stars such as Kevin Durant and Steph Curry.

Curry wrote the forward to McClanaghan’s 2019 book, “Net Work,” described by publisher Simon & Schuster as a combination of “McClanaghan’s hard-earned wisdom — both on and off the court — with rare glimpses into the dues-paying life of professional athletes determined to stay at the top.”

McClanaghan branched out from working with elite hoops athletes to selling his coaching and training philosophy to banks and corporate boards, offering speaking engagements, consulting, and group sales coaching.

McClanaghan often traveled for his self-employment. However, during his divorce in 2018, his wife accused him of alcohol abuse when he was home and said he had “a serious gambling problem.” In court records, she wrote that he had liquidated their accounts of hundreds of thousands of dollars, and that when she confronted him about the withdrawals, “he said he owed ‘loans’ to people who will only accept ‘cash’ payments.”

One example: consecutive daily cash withdrawals from ATMs in 2017 of just under $10,000 at a time, totaling more than $150,000, she wrote in the divorce papers. She said he told her that the banks “ask questions” when withdrawals are more than $10,000, according to court records.

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She wanted him to get counseling for alcohol abuse and gambling addiction. McClanaghan denied her claims about alcohol abuse and responded that his wife knew about the financial transactions, according to court records. He was required to undergo alcohol testing briefly in 2019.

On his Instagram account, The_Rob_Mac, McClanaghan says to his more than 11,000 followers that he “provides on court 🏀 training for players of all levels.”

With previous Globe reports. This story has been updated with information about McClanaghan’s book, his divorce, and his corporate coaching business.





Amanda Milkovits can be reached at amanda.milkovits@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @AmandaMilkovits.