Editor’s note: Special Prosecutor Natasha Natale’s last name has been corrected in the story below.
YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – A Mahoning County Judge called a former high school track coach and police officer, who used his trusted position to sexually prey on young girls, “a father’s worst nightmare.”
As Art Carter, 46, sat with his attorneys, one of his three victims described in court Monday how the one-time high school coach and police officer drove her to an abandoned building for their first sexual encounter.
“How terrifying is that? The weight on my shoulders was instantly compelling. This happened three more times,” she said
The victim says she was a 15-year-old freshman at Ursuline High School when she first met Carter, who was an assistant track coach. She told Judge Anthony D’Apolito that Carter abused his position to manipulate her and avoid getting caught.
“He had it all worked out throughout the process. He had me delete text messages, change his name on my phone. He would do check-ins with me to make sure I didn’t tell anyone,” the victim explained.
Although he was initially indicted in 2017 on rape and other charges that could have brought a life sentence, Carter pleaded guilty in July to three counts of felonious assault. Prosecutors admit the agreement allowed the victims to avoid having to testify in open court.
“After speaking to the victims and the acknowledgment of the negative and hostile treatment of sexual assault victim in our society,” said special prosecutor Natasha Natale.
When it was his turn to speak, Carter apologized, saying he was “truly sorry for any of my actions.”
Although both sides had recommended a lesser sentence, the judge said he couldn’t go along with that. He called Carter “a wolf in sheep’s clothing” and sentenced him to four years behind bars.
Carter was an officer in Youngstown for about 10 years before he was indicted.
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