- Sarah Buduson
EXCLUSIVE: Sexual abuse survivor explains how she got justice against Canton swim coach
CANTON, Ohio - Haley Locke, 20, wanted tough charges.
After all, her swim coach, Sam Seiple, 57, abused her for two years.
However, like many sexual abuse victims, she did not want to relive every detail of the abuse in a courtroom full of strangers, making it more difficult for prosecutors to pursue a felony charge of sexual battery.
In spite of that, Locke still accomplished what she wanted.
Seiple will never coach again.
He pleaded guilty to unlawful sexual contact with a minor inside a Stark County courtroom Monday.
As part of his plea agreement, Seiple lost his coaching credentials and will be required to register as a sex offender for the next 15 years.
"He needed to lose his career," she said. "He needed to lose his credibility."
Seiple also admitted to engaging in sexual acts with her. The abuse started when she was just 16 years old.
"Financially, (he) paid for a lot of things. Paid for all my swim meets, my swim suits," she said. "The way that he had put it is, 'You owe me for this.'"
During his sentencing, Locke read a statement describing the impact of the abuse.
It said, in part, "Every single day I wish this didn't happen to me. I wish I could shower and scrub my skin so hard that it disintegrates because I don't want to live in this body anymore. I feel so foul and vile. I feel so ugly and disgusting because no matter how many times I shower, my skin was still touched by him. I don't wish this pain to be inflicted on any other girl, but God I wish it wasn't on me."
When Locke reported the abuse to the Stark County Sheriff's Department one year ago, she was unaware seeking justice would become a long, difficult process.
"It's not like the TV shows," she said. "You don't see it on Law & Order."
Prosecutors told her for Seiple to be charged with sexual battery, a third-degree felony, she would have to testify in court.
She did not want to go through a trial.
"I didn't feel the need to relive it, re-victimize myself, rehash the past three years and may or may not have someone believe me," she said.
Prosecutors charged Seiple with an unlawful sexual conduct with a minor charge, a misdemeanor, which can carry a sentence of up 180 days behind bars.
However, prosecutors worked out a plea deal with his attorney. Seiple avoided jail time.
On Monday, outraged by Seiple's actions, Judge Chryssa Hartnett sentenced him to spend the rest of the day in Stark County Jail, because she wanted him to know what it feels like to be a criminal.
"That was brought up super last minute and that was an extra "Who-hoo" , I was like, 'Okay'," said Locke.
Since the abuse, Locke says she has moved on with her life.
She's currently in college and has plans to become a therapist.
More than anything, she wants to be advocate for those who have experienced abuse.
"I'm very strong," she said. "I’m very confident in myself, because I’ve overcome this."