Police: Man Had Relationship With 14-Year-Old Girl
3:38 AM, May 15, 2010
A former swim coach accused of having an inappropriate relationship with a 14-year-old girl at Lawrence North High School is expected to accept a plea deal next week, prosecutors said.Christopher Wheat, 36, originally faced six counts of sexual misconduct with a minor and a single count of child solicitation, but is expected to plead guilty to two counts of sexual misconduct with a minor and one count of child solicitation.Investigators said the girl, who had been coached by Wheat since she was 11, admitted having a relationship with Wheat.Wheat, who was an assistant coach at the school and the director and coach of the Lawrence Swim Team, a private club, is one of 36 coaches that USA Swimming banned for life within the last 10 years because of sexual misconduct with teens they coached.The sex scandal was the focus of a "20/20" investigation last month, during which the victim of another Indiana swim coach spoke about the ordeal.Brian Hindson, of Carmel, is serving a 33-year federal sentence after a 2008 conviction on child pornography charges for taping 11 girls as they undressed in locker rooms at the school and at Memorial Gym in Kokomo between 1998 and 2007."The FBI had contacted me and told me that I was one of the ones that Brian had videotaped while in the locker rooms changing in and out of my swim suit," Brooke Taflinger told 6News' Joanna Massee. "I just want to ensure that the swimmers in generations to come have a safe environment."Taflinger has named USA Swimming in a lawsuit alleging the organization's negligence allowed Hindson to operate a child pornography factory.Taflinger's attorney, Jon Little, said since the "20/20" report, he's been flooded with calls from people all over the country who claim they were victimized by their coaches."Young women and older women have been victims of USA Swimming coaches and molestations going back into the `60s," he said.USA Swimming has more than 36,000 coaches nationwide. At a board meeting this month, leaders decided to add extra protections for athletes.Taflinger said she is hopeful her experience will help protect young swimmers."What's helping me also push forward is knowing that the actions that we take today are going to help the future of USA Swimming for all the little girls to come," she said.Wheat's attorney refused to comment on the case. He is scheduled to be in court onMay 21.