A former girls soccer coach was sentenced Wednesday in Baltimore County Circuit Court to serve one year in jail for soliciting sex from the 14-year-old daughter of a police officer.
Charles L. Friedel, 33, the married father of two children and a soccer coach for eight years, knew the girl's family and taught soccer to her 11-year-old sister. In court, he apologized "from the bottom of my heart" to the girls' parents, who sat in the front row and said nothing.
"I'm not that kind of person," Friedel said, referring to the charges against him. "I made a huge, dumb mistake."
Judge John G. Turnbull II agreed with prosecutors that Friedel's lewd and suggestive invitations to the girl — conveyed in text messages — were not efforts to meet a stranger he sought out online.
"This was an individual who was known" to the defendant, Turnbull said. "She was targeted."
The judge imposed a five-year jail sentence, suspending all but one year.Turnbull told Friedel that he would consider allowing him to participate in a work-release program and perhaps release him to home detention.
Friedel, who lives on Hunting Fields Road in Middle River, must register with the state as a sex offender and have no contact with anyone under 16, except his own children. Upon release, he will be on supervised probation for five years.
In February, Friedel pleaded guilty to one count of soliciting sex from a minor. Four other charges, including displaying obscene material to a minor in a practice known as "sexting," were dropped in the plea agreement.
Last summer, Friedel offered the girl private soccer lessons "in exchange for a kiss" and then propositioned her in text messages using graphic sexual terms, according to Baltimore County State's Attorney Scott D. Shellenberger, who prosecuted the case. Friedel's messages carried sexually explicit pictures of himself, and he asked her to send him similar images, the prosecutor said.
Friedel knew that his actions were illegal, Shellenberger said, describing the defendant's reminders to the girl to delete the text messages from him. "I could go to jail for this," Friedel wrote.
The girl alerted her father, an Anne Arundel County police officer. A sting was set up, and when the defendant arrived for his meeting with the teenager at a Royal Farms store, he was arrested. "He confessed to sending the messages but said he did not mean it," Shellenberger said. He also told the judge that the girl had described "some attempted physical contact" by the defendant in a hotel.
Friedel, who has been working for a bail-bond company while out on bail, is the "classic type who commits this type of offense," the prosecutor said, describing a man who is "seemingly on the surface a pillar of the community."