Former football coach sentenced to prison on several sexual abuse charges involving students
BENTON, Ky —
A former high school football coach is asking for forgiveness.
On Thursday, Ron Barnard received a seven-year prison sentence after pleading guilty to numerous charges, including first degree sex abuse and using electronic means to engage in sexual activity with a minor.
"It’s affected a lot of people," says Barnard. "The impact on these people, my family included, I live with every day."
The former teacher and head football coach at Marshall County High School was arrested for the first time last summer on three counts of sexual abuse involving a 15-year-old girl, who was a student at the time. It was during that investigation that police found out about a second female student, a 17 year old.
"I understand," says Barnard. "I understand and I accept responsibility, and I apologize."
Parents of one of the victims took the stand on Thursday, calling their daughter a hero for coming forward and reporting Barnard.
"This has been very hard for the things that you’ve done to her," says a victim’s mother. "She can’t have a relationship because it is based on what you have done to her."
"Thankfully, Barnard, this didn’t go any further," says a victim’s father. "Had it done so, the sentencing today may very well have been for me and you would already be burning in hell."
The judge granted Barnard one last chance to say goodbye to his family. He was then put in handcuffs and escorted out of the courtroom.
His name will be on the sex offenders registry for at least the next 20 years.
Barnard could be eligible for parole after serving more than a year of his sentence, but only if he completes the sex offender treatment program.