RECORD BOOK - PART 4
Sunday, December 14, 2003 - Page updated at 12:00 a.m.
Other cases of club coaches and how some victims are doubted
For several years, Novy got away with molesting three of his top students. "No one wanted to see it," said Mollie Bryan, 23, one of the victims. "There were tons of adults who never wanted to believe it."
When demonstrating martial-arts moves, "he'd 'accidentally' put his hand in your shirt in front of all these people, but he'd turn you away," she said. "My dad would be there and my brother and they'd never see it."
Novy, who opened his gym in 1992, frequently took the girls to regional competitions. Shortly after Bryan joined the gym, he started abusing her.
"He was totally pressuring me," she said.
"I didn't have my first kiss until I was 16, but I was having sex by the time I was 14."
Cori Logan, a victim at 15, said many people suspected Novy of possible wrongdoing but didn't say a word. The mentality among parents at the highly competitive academy was "you don't talk about it, don't report it," said Logan, now 26.
Logan said her parents and others could have done more to protect the girls at Novy's gym. "My mom was snowed over and my dad suspected but didn't ask," Logan said.
Even after Novy was charged with child molestation, some parents continued to support him.
Novy pleaded guilty in 1998 to molesting Bryan, Logan and another girl. He also admitted to a counselor that he had as many as 15 victims, one as young as 9 years old, according to court files.
Yet the file is full of letters of praise for the coach. A mother with two sons who were trained by Novy wrote to the sentencing judge: "Even with the trouble Jon is now in, I would not hesitate for one second to have them train under Jon Novy. I trust him that much."
Gutierrez started his own club soccer team, the Blue Jays, in the mid-1980s. What people didn't know was he had been convicted of molesting a 14-year-old baby-sitter in 1978.
Gutierrez used the team to attract four victims, including a 9-year-old who loved to play soccer.
"He gave me love and attention that I was missing from my father," the victim, now 33, said. "At age 9 you don't know what's right and wrong, it was a slow grooming process."
When the girl reported the abuse, which she said took place over several years, Gutierrez threatened to kill her. Players on the team and students lashed out, calling her a whore and a liar, she said.
In 1987, Gutierrez pleaded guilty to five counts of indecent liberties and was sentenced to 7 ½ years for having sex with several girls on his Marysville soccer team, one as young as 6 years old.
At his sentencing, the judge said Gutierrez used his own daughter, who played on the soccer team, "as a snare and decoy" to lure potential victims.
Dennis A. Jones
Dennis A. Jones
When the girl went to police a few years later, authorities had no doubts about her story, but a quirk in the law saved Jones from facing trial for a sex crime.
Since 2001, it has been a crime in Washington for a school employee to have sex with a student under 18. But for coaches who work outside of schools, having sex with a player between 16 and 18 is only a crime if the coach abuses his authority to coerce his victim, either through favors or threats.
In this case, there was no direct proof that Jones abused his authority over the girl although she and her parents believe she was grossly manipulated. Jones pleaded guilty to fourth-degree assault last year, the highest charge prosecutors could prove.
"I am disturbed because I believe that Dennis Jones knew the law and waited until I was 16 years old to have sexual intercourse with me," the victim said in a statement to the judge. "He began manipulating me when I was 15."
By Christine Willmsen and Maureen O'Hagan, Seattle Times staff reporters
Copyright © 2003 The Seattle Times Company
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