It has been almost a year since Sarah Blessing, 27, a swimming coach and teacher was arrested for having an inappropriate relationship with a high school girl, 17. Now comes word that Blessing will actually get some jail time (364 days) for admitting that she had the relationship, avoiding a trial that could have resulted, if convicted, in 10 years in prison. Still, you have to wonder if a male coach in the same position would have received more than a year?
Sarah E. Blessing, 28, who also worked as a fifth-grade teacher in the Scotch Plains-Fanwood School District, pleaded guilty to criminal sexual contact and witness tampering in Superior Court, New Brunswick, in August. Assistant Middlesex County Prosecutor Christie Bevacqua told Judge Joseph Paone that Blessing assaulted the girl after the girl’s mother asked Blessing to “watch out for her” because the girl was struggling through a difficult time.
“The betrayal of trust is a huge thing here,” Bevacqua said.
The victim’s mother told Paone that Blessing had groomed her daughter for a long period of time before assaulting her. “She took my daughter’s innocence away,” the mother said. At the end of a lengthy statement to Paone, Blessing apologized for her actions, but not before explaining herself. “It wasn’t manipulative. It wasn’t predatory,” Blessing said. “I had feelings for this person.”
Former Bishop Ahr swim coach gets jail, probation for sex with student (My Central Jersey)