A basketball coach was sentenced to 15 years in prison on Friday for raping or assaulting a dozen young women. The attacks took place over more than seven years, while the man was coach at one of the top basketball teams in eastern Norway.
The court in Oslo convicted the man, aged in his 30s, of 11 counts of rape and three counts of having exploited his position, reported Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK). The sentence was greater than the 13 years the prosecution sought. The man’s victims were aged between 16 and 38 years of age, and the abuse took place between 2004 and 2012.
One woman told the court she looked up to the coach, who was very popular within the club. She said he assaulted her when she was 15 or 16 years old, and later raped her at a party.
The coach acknowledged the sexual relationships but claimed the women submitted voluntarily. He said the girls on the team flirted and said he was handsome, and while he didn’t flirt back he was “social and open”, which they may have misunderstood. “I’ve been an asshole and I was arrogant,” he said. “I think that has backfired on me and that is why I’m here now, but it’s not illegal to be an asshole.”
As well as his prison sentence, the man must pay NOK two million (USD 325,000) in damages to the victims.