Former Utah State University’s women’s rugby coach and military veteran is on her way to jail for sexual relations with a teenage girl.
Tara Earl was sentenced to jail on Tuesday. In 2010 Earl, then a new coach, allegedly scouted out a 17 year-old girl at a rugby tournament.
But because USU’s women’s rugby is a club, not an official USU sport, coaches don’t have funds to scout athletes. Earl paid for the victim’s visit to USU’s diversity day out of her own pocket.
After Earl’s arrest in 2011, she claimed she only sought friendship with the girl, but the victim told police a different story.
According to police the first sexual contact occurred when Earl drove the victim home from USU’s diversity day. They met up at least 3 more times in the following months.
In 2011 KSL reported Earl saying, “There was a friendship and she wanted it to be a relationship, and I did not want it to be a relationship. I would not let it be a relationship. She’s mad. She’s not OK with these answers from me.”
The courts did not agree with Earl’s version of the story and declared her guilty in July of this year. On Tuesday she was sentenced to 120 days in jail to await the results of a plea deal in the 3rd District Court.
Earl also claims to be effected by post-traumatic stress disorder due to her military service in Iraq.
KSL reported the judge acknowledging the reality of PTSD as a wound from being in battle, but saying, “As a soldier, you should have been more disciplined in relation to a child.”
The next hearing in the 3rd District Court is to take place on Friday.