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Archive for Saturday, December 24, 2005

Ex-coach gets 7 years for sex with young swimmer

Assistant district attorney says relationship began when girl on team was 12

December 24, 2005

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— A man already serving a federal prison term for a sex offense has been sentenced to an additional seven years for a case involving a girl who belonged to the swimming team he coached.

Craig Ivancic, 31, had pleaded guilty in July to five counts of aggravated indecent liberties with a child and one of sexual exploitation of a child. He admitted to having sex with the 14-year-old girl five times in 2003, as well as to possessing child pornography on a home computer.

Before being sentenced Thursday by Johnson County District Judge Steve Leben, Ivancic apologized and said he was working to get "this behavior out of me."

His attorneys said he was doing everything he could to make his wrongs right, and asked for a sentence of no more than five years to run concurrently with his five-year federal sentence.

Leben said that would amount to no punishment at all and ordered that Ivancic serve the seven-year state sentence after he completes the federal prison time.

Leben said Ivancic apparently was a very good swim coach but used his position to take advantage of a very young student.

"It was a serious crime that had serious consequences," Leben said. "This has had a tremendous and devastating effect on the victim and her family."

The state charges were filed after an FBI investigation resulting in Ivancic being charged in federal court with using a telephone to try to persuade another 14-year-old to engage in sex. He confessed to an FBI agent that he had a sexual relationship with the girl who belonged to the Blazers swim team that he coached.

Jenny Barton, an assistant Johnson County district attorney, said the relationship began when the girl was 12. She said Ivancic e-mailed her, encouraged her to take pictures of herself, took pictures of them together, and had sex with her at the girl's home and in motels. Barton said the girl has suffered emotionally and no longer swims.

"Swimming was the great love of this child's life and she was very good at it," Barton said.

Barton said that sentencing guidelines prescribed nine years and eight months for a defendant with Ivancic's history. She said she recommended only seven years because he admitted his wrongdoing without a plea agreement and sought counseling on his own. Further, she said, his plea meant the girl didn't have to testify.

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