Fort Yukon youth coach sentenced in teen sex case

Posted: Sunday, November 30, 2008

FAIRBANKS - A youth basketball coach in Fort Yukon was sentenced to three years in prison for having sex with one of his 13-year-old players.

Twenty-one-year-old Russell Jacob Shewfelt could be out of custody for good behavior as soon as 2009 under a plea agreement with prosecutors.

Shewfelt pleaded guilty to one count of third-degree sexual assault.

In exchange, prosecutors dropped two counts of sexual abuse of a minor and one count of furnishing alcohol to a minor.

Superior Court Judge Robert Downes said he initially hesitated to accept the agreement, but ultimately felt it was appropriate given Shewfelt's lack of a criminal history and the support his family has shown.

The relationship with the 13-year-old girl came to light when the girl's mother read about it in her daughter's diary.

Shewfelt has been held at the Fairbanks Correctional Center since his January arrest and will receive credit for time served.

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