Ex-youth coach admits touching 13-year-old girls | NevadaAppeal.com

Ex-youth coach admits touching 13-year-old girls

Sheila Gardner
Nevada Appeal News Service

Former youth coach Benjamin Thomas Schuler faces life in prison plus 40 years after pleading guilty Tuesday to three felonies involving sexual contact with 13-year-old girls.

Schuler, appearing before District Judge Dave Gamble, pleaded guilty to use of a minor as a subject of a sexual portrayal in a performance, attempted lewdness with a child under 14 and attempted use of a minor as a subject of a sexual portrayal in a performance.

The first charge is a Class A felony which carries a penalty of 10 years to life in prison, plus a $100,000 fine. The other two charges are Class B felonies with penalties of two to 20 years in prison.

Schuler, 24, also could be eligible for probation if a psycho-sexual evaluation determines that he is not a high risk to reoffend.

The incidents that led to the allegations occurred between Dec. 1, 2009, and Feb. 24, according to the criminal complaint.

“I read the charges and I did what it says,” Schuler told Gamble when asked to admit what he did.

“That’s not good enough,” Gamble said.

“I encouraged her (the 13-year-old victim) to give me a sexual picture,” Schuler said. “It was through a text message.”

On the second charge, Schuler said he inappropriately touched the same girl through her clothing while they were on a school bus on Kingsbury Grade.

The third charge involved a different 13-year-old girl.

“It was the same as count one,” Schuler said. “I encouraged her to send me a sexual picture.”

He told Gamble he knew the girls were 13 and that the contacts and photos were transmitted via MySpace and text messaging from his Gardnerville residence.

Gamble set sentencing for Oct. 12.

Under terms of the plea agreement, the district attorney has agreed to recommend that the sentences be served concurrently, but that is up to the discretion of the judge.

As a convicted sex offender, Schuler faces lifetime supervision and must register with law enforcement no matter where he lives.

Schuler is out of custody on $25,000 cash bail.

Schuler was formerly employed as a Douglas County School District basketball coach.

, originally was charged with lewdness with a child under 14, luring a child with the intent to engage in sexual conduct and luring a child.

He is accused of inappropriately touching a 13-year-old girl through her clothing on Jan. 22; sending an e-mail to the same girl on Feb. 24 trying to entice her to come to his home to engage in sexual conduct; and asking a 13-year-old between Jan. 17-Feb. 5 to sneak out of her home and “hang out” with him.

He was arrested when one of the victims’ family members discovered the text messages.

Schuler is out of custody on $25,000 cash bail.

Schuler was paid a stipend by the school district to coach basketball at Pau-Wa-Lu Middle School for three years, and was a school volunteer. His contract expired at the end of the basketball season.