A former volunteer coach at a Rock Hill school was sentenced to prison after he pleaded guilty in court Thursday to having sex with a student
Brant Logan Sexton, 21, a former wrestling coach at Rock Hill High School, was sentenced to a maximum of five years in prison under South Carolina’s youthful offender act. He pleaded guilty to sexual battery against a student age 16 or 17 without coercion.
Under state law for youthful offenders under age 25, Sexton will serve at least nine months active time in prison followed by parole, prosecutors said.
Sexton did not speak in court except to admit he was guilty. When asked by the judge if he wanted to talk, Sexton said, “No sir, I’m good.”
York County Sheriff’s Office Det. Jonathan Reed investigated after a female student told officers she and others were at Sexton’s home for a party in December 2018.
Prosecutors said in court that Sexton invited high school students to the party. Sexton provided alcohol to students and then sexually assaulted the girl, said 16th Circuit Assistant Solicitor Sharon Ohayon.
“This defendant used his position and authority as a volunteer wrestling coach to throw parties and provide alcohol, and that gave him access,” Ohayon said after court.
The victim was in court but did not speak. In a letter she wrote that was read in court by Ohayon, she said Sexton took advantage of her.
“I trusted him. I was wrong,” she wrote. “He made it look like it was my fault.”
The student said in the letter she was stigmatized on social media after Sexton’s arrest in January by people who took Sexton’s side because he was a former wrestling champion and popular with students at school.
The Herald is not naming the victim.
Ohayon praised the victim, saying she courageously reported the crime and withstood social media taunts that she was to blame.
“I told her repeatedly, and she has come to realize, that what happened was not her fault. It was his fault,” Ohayon said after court.
Sexton’s lawyer, Jim Boyd, said in court there was no force or coercion in the encounter, and it was a consensual sexual act. However, Boyd said, Sexton was guilty because he was at the time a volunteer wrestling coach at the school, and the law does not allow sexual encounters between students and adult school officials, Boyd said.
“There was no charge of any force and my client denies there was any force,” Boyd said.
A youthful offender conviction means Sexton will serve his sentence in a South Carolina prison and is eligible for early release if he meets conditions of rehabilitation, prosecutors said. Sexton must serve at least nine months of active prison time, Ohayon said. If released, Sexton would serve the remainder of the sentence on parole, Ohayon said.
Circuit Court Judge Bill McKinnon also ordered Sexton have no contact with the victim for the rest of his life.
Sexton had passed background screenings before his arrest, school officials told The Herald in January. Following the arrest, Sexton was then barred from volunteering at any school, officials said.