by Steven Ertelt
November 26, 2007
Middlesex, MA (LifeNews.com) — A gymnastics coach who was indicted last week on charges that he repeatedly raped one girl and took her for an abortion was banned from a national gymnastics group but never arrested for the sexual misconduct. That’s according to court papers in the case of 51-year-old Steven Infante of New Milford, Connecticut.
Infante appeared in Middlesex Superior Court on Wednesday and was released after pleading not guilty to the charges.
Prosecutors say Infante had a sexual relationship with a 14-year-old girl that began at that early age and continued until she was 21. When she turned 17, the girl became pregnant and Infante drove her to a local abortion business.
Abortion centers nationwide have been under fire for doing abortions on teenagers who are victims of sexual abuse.
According to an AP report, the court records indicate USA Gymnastics banned Infante in 1998 on allegations of sexual abuse.
However, he continued to be involved in the gymnastics schools he ran and was never charged or arrested on the suspicions.
Leslie King, a spokeswoman for USA Gymnastics, told AP she didn’t know if the group’s officials contacted authorities at the time but confirmed Infante still appears on an internal list of banned instructors.
USA Gymnastics banned Infante after it "concluded that the allegations concerning sexual relations with a minor and sexual relations with an athlete were true," according to an affidavit AP obtained.
The ban had a local effect and one high school pulled its students from his gym as a result of the national group’s decision.
Corey Welford, a spokesman for the Middlesex prosecutor’s office, said Infante was only charged after accusers in Massachusetts came forward last year with allegations that Infante had been sexually abusive.
Infante is also accused of sexually molesting a second teenage girl.
Middlesex District Attorney Gerry Leone talked with the Associated Press about the case.
"We allege that the defendant, Steven Infante, took advantage of his position of authority to exert control over, manipulate, and sexually assault these young vulnerable girls," she said.
"We also allege that the defendant engaged in a pattern of ‘grooming’ the young victims in an effort to gradually make them more accepting of his escalating, inappropriate, and ultimately criminal sexual contact with them," Leone added.
Peter Russell, Infante’s attorney, told AP that his client is innocent.
Infante "absolutely denies these allegations … and he looks forward to fighting these allegations in court," he said.
This isn’t the first time an alleged sexual abuser has used abortion to attempt to cover up his crimes.
In May, the employee of an abortion facility in Connecticut issued a guilty plea in a case involving the sexual abuse of three teenage girls.
Former modeling agency owner Michael Britt, who worked as a janitor at the abortion center, was accused of sexually assaulting three teenagers from Norwalk who went to his modeling agency.
He took a 14-year-old to the Summit Women’s Center abortion facility, where he worked and which was located in the same building as his agency.
The Britt case followed just weeks after another abortion-sexual abuse case prompted observers to wonder why abortion facilities are not contacting authorities about the actions.
Kevon Walker, 22, was charged earlier this month with getting his then 14-year-old girlfriend pregnant. He got the unnamed girl pregnant three times in six months and the girl wound up having three abortions as a result.
However, abortion businesses failed to report the statutory rape to authorities and officials only began investigating Walker’s actions when the victim’s mother contacted them.