Members of a Connecticut baseball umpires' group are defending a decision to give a lifetime achievement award to a child sex offender.

Fifty-eight-year-old Tom Barbero received the award this month from the Torrington Board of Approved Baseball Umpires. He umpired from 1970 to 1998, including for 13- to 15-year-olds in the Babe Ruth league.

The group says it knew about Barbero's record but honored him because he deserved recognition.

Barbero was sentenced in 2000 to four years in prison and 35 years of probation. Police accused him of sexually assaulting three teenage boys in 1994 and 1995. The boys were not involved with youth baseball.

Neither Barbero nor his lawyer returned phone messages Friday.