A police officer with the Blaine police department recently placed a 20-year-old basketball coach under arrest after they say she was having a sexual relationship with one of her players. Even though the woman was arrested on suspicion of a sex crime, the county prosecutor has not issued a decision on whether he or she will file a charge of first-degree criminal sexual conduct. While it is possible that the woman will be released and not charged with any crimes, the damage to her reputation and career may already have been done.
The 20-year-old had been hired last year to coach the ninth-grade girls’ basketball team at Blaine High School. Since accusations started flying about her involvement with a student, the Anoka-Hennepin School District has already decided to put the woman on administrative leave. The school district will be conducting its own investigation before it makes any final decisions on termination.
With the extreme stigma that follows someone who is accused of a sex crime, it is extremely important that police only arrest or threaten to charge someone if they have sufficient evidence to do so. Just an allegation of a sex crime is enough to make most people cringe and the public is often quick to condemn someone, even if there is no evidence to support a charge.
The arresting officer says that he found the coach and student in a car in a city park. When both of the young women were brought in for questioning, the Anoka County Sheriff’s Office claims that they admitted they had been dating for a month. It is unknown, however, if either woman had an attorney present at the time or understood the gravity of the situation before speaking with police.
Source: Star Tribune, “Police: Blaine girls’ basketball coach seen engaged in sex with ninth-grader,” Paul Walsh and Maria Elena Baca, March 28, 2012