Accused Hockey Coach’s Lawyer: Man Had Sex With Underage Girls, But Wasn’t in “Position of Authority” Over Them

We’ve been covering high school coach sex scandals for a long time and this is the first time we’ve heard this defense. Used to be that adults (teachers and coaches) caught having sex with their students or players could argue that the teens were above the age of consent. Then states drafted new laws that made it a crime for a person in a “position of authority” (teacher, coach, counselor, etc) to have sex with a student, regardless of their age. Now a girls hockey coach in Minnesota is trying to get cleared of charges by letting his lawyer claim that, yes, the accused did have sex with underage female players, but that he really wasn’t in a position of authority. Bold move. Let’s see how this plays out.

Here’s more from the Worthington Daily Globe:

The attorney defending a former Park High School girls’ hockey coach accused of having sex with a pair of 16-year-old former players indicated in Washington County District court on Monday he will argue his client was not in a position of authority over the teen girls when the incident took place in 2006.

Day one in the trial of Eric Darwitz ended without interviews of prospective jurors. But during a series of motions and objections Monday Darwitz’ attorney, Earl Gray, and Assistant Washington County Attorney Michael Hutchinson previewed some issues that could arise during the trial this week in Stillwater.

Darwitz, 32, is facing charges on two counts of third-degree criminal sexual conduct stemming from the August 2006 incident. The fact Darwitz had sex with the two former players days after he left his post is not in question, Gray said in court. Rather, the case hinges, he said, on whether Darwitz could be considered a figure of authority to the teen girls when he allegedly purchased alcohol for the pair and then, along with another man, had sex with them at his Woodbury residence.

While the prosecution, defense and Judge William B. Ekstrum sorted out what was admissible in court from the 64-page transcript of the more than two-hour-long police interview of Darwitz conducted last year, Gray said it was important “not to lose sight of the central issue, which is whether or not (Darwitz) was in a position of authority.”

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