HYDE PARK, Vt. – A judge issued an anti-stalking order Friday against a high school basketball coach who acknowledged sending a text message to a 17-year-old girl in which he offered to take her virginity.

Under it, Marc Newton, a veteran basketball and soccer coach at Peoples Academy in Morrisville, is banned from having any contact with the girl. Judge Dennis Pearson said the evidence showed Newton had engaged in threatening behavior, and that it was enough to make a reasonable person fear unlawful sexual conduct could result.

The order came after a tense courtroom hearing in which the girl and the 41-year-old Newton took turns testifying about the texts. They began in December as friendly exchanges but became more suggestive later on, reaching a point where the girl told a guidance counselor and police intervened.

Newton, a coach at the school for 19 years, most recently coached the boys varsity soccer team and the girls’ junior varsity basketball team. The girl played on the girls’ varsity basketball team, and Newton routinely taped her legs before games.

In one text, he wrote: “u don’t want to know some of the thoughts that went through my head sometimes while taping your legs,” according to an affidavit filed in Lamoille Superior Court.

“If I were in high school, you’d be in trouble,” he wrote in another.

The girl, who said she never gave Newton her cell phone number and doesn’t know how he got it, reported the exchanges last month, soon after the text suggesting they have sex.

“He asked me if I wanted him to take my virginity,” she said Friday. “Just disgusting things. I was freaking out. I deleted them right away.”

Newton, a married father whose children attend the school, acknowledged sending the messages but his lawyer suggested that the one about taking her virginity was taken out of context.

According to defense attorney Kurt Hughes, the sex suggestion had originated during a discussion between the girl and another person at a party, after the person asked her what she thought of Newton and she said she thought he was an attractive older man. Who said what after that isn’t clear.

The girl’s family’s lawyer, Brice Simon, said it wasn’t the girl’s idea.

He said the family was pleased with the court’s ruling, but they still have questions about what school officials knew about the text messaging between the girl and Newton.

“From our perspective, what you see is grooming behavior. It’s the type of thing that we would hope would be aggressively watched for by the school.

“So there’s a remaining concern as to whether or not people in positions where they’re mandatory reporters and they’re trained in these types of things could’ve seen this type of thing coming earlier,” he said.

Schools Superintendent Tracey Wrend couldn’t be reached for comment Friday.

The Lamoille County Special Investigations Unit is investigating whether there was misconduct by Newton.

He declined comment after Friday’s hearing, as did the girl, both through their lawyers.

Newton’s lawyer said he plans to appeal. He believes the statutory criteria for the anti-stalking order weren’t met.

“Having said that, Marc is very sorry for what he said and the anguish that he caused this girl. He fully acknowledges that it was entirely inappropriate. … He has put this girl through a lot of emotional anguish. He has put his own family through emotional anguish,” Hughes said.


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