A Raleigh youth swim coach received a suspended sentence Friday for her role in a sexual assault case involving a 14-year-old team member.
Wake District Court Judge Eric Chasse ordered Shannon Foster to serve 25 days in jail, but suspended the sentence and placed her on probation for 24 months. He also ordered her to have no contact with the teen.
Foster, 45, and her former boyfriend, Nathan Weddle, worked for several years as youth swim coaches in the area.
Weddle, 43, was the teen’s year-round swim coach with the Capital Area Swim Team that held its practices at a pool on Six Forks Road.
Foster worked as an assistant coach with the team.
The teen first told police about Weddle’s sexual assault and inappropriate touching in December. After Weddle’s arrest, the teen told the detective that Foster knew about their relationship prior to his arrest.
In early July, Weddle was sentenced to nearly 29 years in prison after he pleaded guilty to two felony counts each of statutory sex offense with a child under the age of 15 and indecent liberties with a child.
Investigators in March charged Foster with contributing to the delinquency of a minor because she knew Weddle had sexually assaulted the teen.
During Friday’s hearing, Wake prosecutor Kathryn Pomeroy said the parents of the victim treated Weddle and Foster like they were members of their family. They would spend their Christmas holidays with the coaches and invite them over for dinner.
“Nathan Weddle used his position of trust to begin sexually abusing her,” Pomeroy said.
The prosecutor said Foster knew what was happening for months and chose not to tell the child’s parents.
“Instead she took her anger out on a 14-year-old child,” Pomeroy said.
Search warrants made public this year show that Foster called the teen and said she had “ruined her relationship” with Weddle and demanded that she stay away from him.
The teen said Foster knew about a text message with Weddle telling the child “I Love You.” The message made Foster “very mad” and she eventually yelled at the child over the telephone.
Pomeroy said Foster sent a text to the teen that read, “You are mature enough to sleep with your coach, but you’re not mature enough to answer the phone.”
Pomeroy likened Foster’s behavior to that of a school girl instead of an adult.
“She could have stopped this, and she chose not to,” Pomeroy said. “People who hold positions of trust should be held to a higher accountability and a higher duty for the sexual abuse of a child. She failed this child. She’s failed this family and quite frankly, this community.”
The teen’s mother told the court that Foster was a trusted family friend who spent vacations with them at the beach and helped wrap their children’s Christmas presents. She said her daughter suffers from flashbacks, depression and is on medication for anxiety as a result of the sexual assault.
The teen told the court that Foster harassed, threatened “and made me feel so scared.”
“She treated me like I was a 40-year-old woman instead of a 14-year-old who was being manipulated,” the teen said in court.
In January, Weddle was placed on USA Swimming’s list of permanently banned coaches for violating the agency’s SafeSport code.
Foster was placed on the list in April for the same violations, according to the USA Swimming website.