May 20, 2021
Susan Vela
Hometown Life

A metro Detroit soccer coach and teacher and the former student who told police he sexually abused her apologized in court during his sentencing, but only one was called a “bad actor” by the judge.
Jason Dean, 37, of Livonia said he was sorry for the pain he caused the victim and his family before he was committed to nine to 30 years behind bars for five counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct.
The woman who was once his eighth-grade student at Cedar Crest Academy in Springfield Township apologized for ultimately going to police.
For her, there was no other choice.
“I was stuck with the decision of reporting versus not reporting,” she said during the May 20 sentencing. “I was stuck with the decision of ensuring that this does not happen to another child. Obviously, I chose to report because I couldn’t live knowing what I know and not doing anything to prevent it from happening again.
“Myself and many other people involved have had to live with guilt and shame that don’t belong to us because of these selfish acts. This will live with me and many others for the rest of our lives. I’m sorry that it had to come to this but there truly is no other choice for me.”
Dean was arraigned in early 2020, when he still was teaching at Northville High School. The young woman had told investigators Dean sexually assaulted her in 2010, when he was associated with Cedar Crest.
The sexual abuse began with Dean taking a special interest in the soccer and basketball player. The illegal activity concluded with months of sexual acts at places that included Dean's classroom and a secret apartment.
After he was arraigned, reports of inappropriate conduct and grooming behavior surfaced at Wayne Memorial and Northville high schools. Dean also once coached girls for the Livonia-based Michigan Hawks.
“She has stated to Your Honor that she continues to bear the scars of these sexual abuse offenses,” prosecuting attorney Shannon O’Brien said. “This was sexual abuse of an eighth-grade child whose parents had placed her in a relationship of trust with this teacher.
“Her innocence was stolen. Her trust ability is extremely compromised. I can’t think of two other things that are more significant to a child’s well-being.”
Dean pleaded no contest to the five CSC counts, and attorneys agreed on the minimum sentence of nine years behind bars.
His attorney Nicole Blank Becker said Dean has been forthcoming about making terrible and unforgivable choices during his late 20s. She said he has taken responsibility for that chapter of his life.
Dean has told her that he wanted closure for the victim and to not put her through more drama, a message he repeated during his own statements, which included a Biblical farewell from 2 Corinthians 13:11.
“I can never fully experience being in your shoes but hopefully this day can provide comfort, lead to healing and start to patch some of the wounds that exist,” he added, claiming a failure to realize the lasting impact of their relations. “The events will never be forgotten but I realize and accept that you have to live with this. That hurts me tremendously. That is something that will never leave me.”
Judge Yasmine Poles said his statements finally implied “an ounce of remorse” but she reprimanded him for his apologies when he should be more focused on the actions that prompted the victim to talk to investigators.
“They’re deplorable, absolutely deplorable,” she said. “Your action is a reason why parents lie awake at night terrified about where they’re going to drop their children off the next day, to what childcare, to what teacher, to what coach.”
The judge accused Dean of using his position of authority, along with the school district and coaching program, to prey on his victim.
“You need to be reminded of that,” Poles said. “I’m not going to allow you, as a bad actor, to place negativity, however, on our teachers and our counselors and our coaches within our community. Those people should be held at a high standard and we should trust them. You, as the bad actor, will be the one that’s serving the time for the punishment that you deserve, that you well earned. OK?”
She concluded by noting that Dean’s children are around the same age that his victim was and asked what kind of punishment he would want for any person who did the same to them.


Message from Executive Director Laura A. Ahearn: Please visit our website at www.crimevictimscenter.org for news, information and resources in your community.

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