Former coach gets 14-year sentence for sex assaultNEW RICHMOND, Wis. - James Armagost, former youth hockey and softball coach, was sentenced to six years in prison and eight years of extended supervision Thursday in St. Croix County Court.
By: New Richmond News, Worthington Daily Globe
NEW RICHMOND, Wis. - James Armagost, former youth hockey and softball coach, was sentenced to six years in prison and eight years of extended supervision Thursday in St. Croix County Court.
Armagost was accused of repeated sexual assault of the same child after it was discovered that he had intimate contact with a former hockey and softball player who was 14 years old at the time of the crime.
A second felony charge of using a computer to facilitate a child sex crime was dismissed with the previous plea agreement.
The count of repeated sexual assault of the same child (at least three violations of first or felony second-degree sexual assault), which Armagost pleaded guilty to, is a class C felony. The maximum sentence was 40 years in prison and a $100,000 fine.
In the earlier plea agreement proceeding, prosecutors recommended 18 years be Armagost's sentence, with three years of state prison and 15 years extended supervision. At that time, Judge Edward Vlack reminded Armagost that he does not necessarily have to follow those stipulations.
The victim and the victim's parents read impact statements in the open courtroom on Thursday. They each broke into tears as they tried to express their anger over the crime. Armagost also spoke prior to sentencing, apologizing to the victim, the victim's family and to all his family and friends.
Prosecutor Francis Collins noted that a pre-sentence investigation indicated that Armagost was at risk for offending again, based on interviews with the defendant. He also noted that the defendant showed little remorse and often tried to blame others for his situation.
Defense attorney Aaron Nelson said Armagost was going through a divorce at the time of the crime and that resulted in his error in judgement. An alternative pre-sentence investigation, commissioned by the defense, showed that Armagost was sorry and was ready for treatment, Nelson said. Effective treatment wouldn't occur, Nelson argued, if his client was sent to prison for an extended period of time.
After Nelson asked the court that a one-year jail term be imposed, with a requirement that Armagost complete a sexual offender rehabilitation program offered at the University of Minnesota, Vlack departed from both recommendations.
Noting that he was worried about what message might be sent if a lenient sentence was handed down, Vlack announced Armagost's 14-year sentence. He noted that Armagost would be required to serve more than 75 percent of his sentence in prison, but if he successfully completes his treatment and behaves well while incarcerated, he could get his sentence reduced.
Following his prison term, Armagost will also not be allowed to interact with children younger than 16, and will have to register as a sex offender. He forfeits additional rights, such as voting and possessing a fire arm.
Armagost, 46, Hammond, was arrested as the result of a Nov. 4, 2009 investigation by sheriff’s deputies and River Falls police. The complaint alleges that between Feb. 1, 2009 and Aug. 31, 2009 Armagost exchanged e-mail messages with a 14-year-old girl that led to a romantic relationship.
The complaint accused Armagost of kissing and inappropriately touching the teenager a number of times at secluded locations, including his car.
The teenager told investigators she knew Armagost because he was her hockey and softball coach.