March 16, 2021
Karin Johnson

LEBANON, Ohio — A former youth sports coach accused of sex crimes against children asked a Warren County judge to amend conditions of his bond.

Eric Schmidt, 42, of Mason is not supposed to be around minors except for his own children. During a hearing Tuesday, Schmidt asked Judge Robert Peeler for permission to attend his children's' sporting events.

"I think just a blanket that he can't go to any of his kids' sports games in the spring when they're all in public, outside, when he can stay at a distance away with his wife, I really don't think that that's a burden," said defense attorney Bill Gallagher.

Last October, Schmidt was indicted on five charges including rape, two counts of gross sexual imposition and two counts of public indecency.

Prosecutors said he raped a 12-year-old girl in 2019 and molested a girl the same age in 2015.

"The most recent allegation came about as a result of the defendant's connections with youth sporting leagues," said assistant Warren County prosecutor Kevin Hardman.

Prosecutors said that crime took place at a youth football-related party.

The alleged victims' parents were at Tuesday's hearing. They argued Schmidt should be not be given permission to attend kids sports.

"It will revictimize my daughter as she attends these sporting events to watch her brother," said one mother. "My son is a witness in this case also, and seeing Mr. Schmidt at these sporting events would upset him and intimidate him as Mr. Schmidt used to be one of my son's coaches."

The other alleged victim's mother said, "Allowing him to attend would be an injustice to the young victims that have suffered."

Peeler reminded the public that Schmidt is presumed innocent, but, in the end Peeler split his ruling.

Peeler denied Schmidt's request to attend his son's youth games but gave Schmidt permission to travel out of state to watch his oldest daughter play games at the college level.

A trial in this case has been set for the week of June 14.

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