Quantcast
Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts
| Courtesy Davis County Jail Stephen Niedzwiecki.
Teen victim laments plea deal for ex-coach who abused her
Courts » Man had sex with girl after he was no longer her coach.
First Published Jan 24 2014 08:13 am • Last Updated Jan 24 2014 09:15 pm

A teenage girl is blasting the plea bargain prosecutors gave to the Davis County high school basketball coach who sexually abused her.

Stephen Paul Niedzwiecki had been scheduled for trial next month on eight first-degree felony counts of forcible sodomy, one first-degree felony count of attempted rape, and two second-degree felony counts of forcible sexual abuse.

Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

However, on Thursday in 2nd District Court, the 34-year-old man was allowed to enter guilty pleas to four third-degree felonies — two counts of unlawful sexual activity with a minor and two counts of unlawful sexual activity with a 16- to 17-year old.

Niedzwiecki is a former coach at Jefferson Academy in Kaysville, where the victim was a student athlete. Inappropriate contact allegedly began when the girl was a freshman, but did not escalate to sex until after she graduated in 2011, a relationship that ended in late 2012.

Prosecutors contend that Utah statutes, and recent Utah Supreme Court rulings, made it clear that in order for Niedzwiecki to be convicted of the more serious violation of "a position of special trust," contained within a first-degree felony count, the actual sexual activity would have had to occur while the girl was still his student.

Judge Michael Allphin agreed, accepting the guilty pleas.

The victim, now a 17-year-old student at Weber State University, told reporters outside the courtroom that she felt "betrayed" by the plea deal. She also vowed to work with legislators to strengthen the application of, and the penalties for, cases like hers.

Davis County Attorney Troy Rawlings said Friday that he was convinced that his prosecutor assigned to the case, Cristina Ortega, had made the right decision.

"[Her] plea negotiation was based on a valid assessment of fact and law. It is a disservice to victims to give them erroneous information, false expectations or go to trial when we cannot prove all elements of a particular charge," he said.

"At trial, prosecutors actually have to prove what we charge, beyond a reasonable doubt, to a unanimous jury," Rawlings further stated. "Cristina Ortega did a service to the victim and the justice system by entering into an appropriate resolution [and], at sentencing, the defendant will now be held accountable for crimes committed."


story continues below
story continues below

Niedzwiecki faces a maximum of five years in prison on each of the remaining counts when he is sentenced by Allphin on March 21.

remims@sltrib.com

Twitter: @remims



Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Top Reader Comments Read All Comments Post a Comment
Click here to read all comments   Click here to post a comment


About Reader Comments


Reader comments on sltrib.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Salt Lake Tribune. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. If you see an objectionable comment, please alert us by clicking the arrow on the upper right side of the comment and selecting "Flag comment as inappropriate". If you've recently registered with Disqus or aren't seeing your comments immediately, you may need to verify your email address. To do so, visit disqus.com/account.
See more about comments here.
Staying Connected
Videos
Jobs
Contests and Promotions
  • Search Obituaries
  • Place an Obituary

  • Search Cars
  • Search Homes
  • Search Jobs
  • Search Marketplace
  • Search Legal Notices

  • Other Services
  • Advertise With Us
  • Subscribe to the Newspaper
  • Access your e-Edition
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Contact a newsroom staff member
  • Access the Trib Archives
  • Privacy Policy
  • Missing your paper? Need to place your paper on vacation hold? For this and any other subscription related needs, click here or call 801.204.6100.