Ex-Swim Coach Pleads Guilty In Teen Sex Case
Chris Wheat Faces Up To 10-Year Sentence
Last Updated: 1096 days ago
A former assistant swim coach at Lawrence North High School pleaded guilty Friday to two felony counts of sexual misconduct with a minor and one felony count of child solicitation.The criminal acts involving Chris Wheat, 36, and a 14-year-old girl happened in the coach's office in September 2009.The girl and her parents attended Wheat's hearing Friday morning. Under terms of a plea agreement, Wheat's maximum sentence could be 10 years, and he will not be permitted to have contact with the victim.Wheat, who also served as director and coach of the Lawrence Swim Team, a private club, had nothing to say as he and his attorney left the courtroom."What he did to her can't be undone," said Marion County Prosecutor Carl Brizzi. "The relationship that he had with this young girl was a relationship of trust, and he betrayed that trust."Wheat originally faced six counts of sexual misconduct with a minor, along with the child solicitation charge. He had coached the victim since she was 11.Prosecutors initially thought that Wheat might have had inappropriate contact with other girls."We do have information that there was an additional advance on a young person, but she was able to rebuke him," Brizzi said. "That information may come out in the sentencing hearing."Wheat is one of 36 coaches that USA Swimming banned for life within the past 10 years because of sexual misconduct with teens they coached.Jonathan Little, who has filed civil lawsuits against some of those coaches and USA Swimming, said Wheat is part of a much larger issue."Chris Wheat may be out of the picture, but there are other Chris Wheat's out there in central Indiana and across the country," Little said. "We need to root this stuff out before it happens."Wheat's sentencing is set for July 2.