PIERCE COUNTY, Wash. - A former University of Puget Sound assistant soccer coach who also trained youth players was sentenced Thursday, following accusations he inappropriately touched a 16-year-old player.
Kelly Bendixen, 53, pleaded guilty recently to communication with a minor for immoral purposes as part of negotiations with prosecutors.
Pierce County Superior Court Judge Garold Johnson gave Bendixen a low-end sentence of 30 days in jail, which is what both the defense and prosecution recommended.
As part of that sentence Bendixen is prohibited from having contact with minors and is required to register as a sex offender.
The teenage victim asked the court for the maximum sentence allowed by law.
“The defendant violated my body and my rights,” she told the court.
Her parents also addressed the court about how Bendixen’s actions harmed their family.
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Charging documents accused Bendixen of inappropriately touching the girl in August while giving her a car ride and at a drive-in restaurant. He had coached her since she was 8.
Defense attorney Bryan Hershman told the court Bendixen coached for 27 years at the University of Puget Sound, started a successful business training goalkeepers and had no criminal history.
He’s been working as a laborer since the allegations, the attorney said.
Many supporters wrote the court letters on Bendixen’s behalf, including players and their parents, which described him as a skilled coach and mentor.
The incident “was an isolated day in his life,” Hershman told the judge.. “... one momentary lapse in judgment.”
Bendixen apologized when it was his turn to address the court and said that lapse in judgment had changed his life forever.
For more on this story, visit The News Tribune.
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