Coach convicted of sexual misconduct to be released six years early

Coach convicted of sexual misconduct to be released six years early

Chris Wheat

Chris Wheat (March 29, 2012)

Indianapolis

A former Lawrence North High School swim coach convicted of sexual misconduct with a teenage girl on his swim team, will be released from prison early.

Chris Wheat, 38, pleaded guilty to having a sexual relationship with a 14-year-old girl and was sentenced to eight years in prison. But last week, the victim’s family found out that he will be getting out this May.

"It was quite a shock," said the victim’s father, who wants to keep his identity hidden. "Basically we were notified by email. It said here's the date. He's going to be out by May 4."

According to the Department of Corrections, Wheat’s sentence was cut in half for good behavior. That’s because a prisoner earns one day off for each day they serve their sentence without any problems.

The prison then took off another year because Wheat earned his associate's degree while behind bars. When he earned his second bachelor’s degree, the prison took off another 489 days. By the time he walks out of the New Castle Correctional Facility, he’ll have served less than two years behind bars.

“There are programs out there to fast track these people back into the community." said the victim’s father. "It seems that the system is very concerned with the rights of the criminals and the predators and much less concerned with the victims and the families,”

Last year, Wheat had asked a judge to reduce his sentence, but was denied. The victim’s family felt like that was a victory. Now they are shocked to find out Wheat worked out another plan to get out early. The victim’s father said it sends the wrong message and shows Wheat isn’t remorseful for what he did.

"How does somebody say that ‘I'm different, I'm sad and remorseful about what I've done,’ but then all of the actions indicate that's not the case?"

He said what’s worse now is that his daughter has to re-live the emotional ordeal all over again.

"When she came forward, she didn't know how she was gonna be treated by her classmates and her teammates and the community," he said.  "We don't know whether this community is ready to have him back or not, but he's gonna be back and the community needs to know that."

Wheat will have to register as a sex offender once he leaves prison. It’s not clear if he will be placed on probation and if so, for how long.

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