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Former OSU Diving Club coach pleads not guilty to sexual battery charges

Former Ohio State Diving Club assistant coach Will Bohonyi pleads not guilty to all charges during his arraignment in the Franklin County Common Pleas court Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2018. Credit: Amanda Parrish | Assistant Campus Editor

Former Ohio State Diving Club assistant coach William Bohonyi was arraigned in the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas where he pleaded not guilty to all charges.

Bohonyi is accused of having an inappropriate relationship with a minor that was part of the diving club during his time as a coach and is charged with three felony counts of sexual battery and one count of sexual pandering to minor.

Bradley Koffel, Bohonyi’s attorney, told the court during arraignment that Bohonyi had done nothing wrong in pursuing a relationship with the young woman.

“The consensual relationship he had with this young lady was lawful,” Koffel said.

Bohonyi was accused of coercing a 16-year-old female athlete to engage in sex acts in July 2014, both on campus and during a competition in Maryland, in a lawsuit filed July 11 in Indianapolis federal district court. Bohonyi, the university’s diving club and USA Diving were named as defendants.

Charges against Ohio State have since been dropped and Bohonyi was issued a warrant by the Franklin County court and, as his defense pointed out, he turned himself in within two hours.

The prosecution, represented in court Wednesday by  Franklin County assistant prosecutor Jennifer Rausch, argued that while the alleged victim was old enough for consent — the age of consent is 16 in Ohio — that the nature of their relationship is what made it illegal with Bohonyi serving as her coach.

In interviews after the hearing, Koffel said Bohonyi did not have control over the alleged victim’s placement on teams or progress in the diving club and that under the Ohio statute would not count as her coach and thus the nature of the relationship would not be illegal.

Bohonyi’s bond for a later appearance in court was set at $15,000 and was released on a $10,000 reporting recognizance bond. The judge also placed a stay-away order on Bohonyi from anyone involved with the case as well as an order for no unsupervised contact with minors.

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