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Pennsylvania coach charged in alleged sex case involving 17-year-old student

By Sarah May
|
April 14, 2023

A female javelin coach in Pennsylvania is facing criminal charges for allegedly engaging in a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old student who participated on her track and field team, as the New York Post reports.

The arrest of Hannah Marth, 26, occurred after authorities became aware that she had been involved with the Northhampton Area High School athlete following her initiation of intimate contact in May of 2021 and persisted in that conduct until October of 2022.

Relationship initiated

As Allentown television station WFMZ reported, in late May of 2021, Marth sent the aforementioned student a text message inviting him to her Lehigh Township home.

It was then that she initiated a sexual encounter with the teen.

When questioned by law enforcement, Marth admitted to the May 2021 incident.

Upon further investigation, the student informed police that his relationship with the coach continued until the fall of last year.

Charges filed

Marth is facing charges of institutional sexual assault as well as sexual assault by a sports official, according to the Post.

The accused was arraigned on Thursday and released on $75,000 unsecured bond. Both alleged offenses constitute third-degree felonies, subjecting Marth to the possibility of significant fines and jail time, if convicted.

Commenting on the allegations against Marth, District Attorney Terence Houck declared, “A trusted relationship between a student-athlete, and athlete's parent, and a coach can be a vulnerable one. An abuse of that relationship shows a coach's blatant disregard for the well-being of those she or he coached.”

“This defendant defied that trust when she committed this alleged crime against the victim,” Houck added.

Fall from grace

According to the Daily Mail, Marth had herself been a star athlete on the track and field team at the same school where she ultimately served as a coach, and her arrest represents a shocking turn of events for the once-respected mentor.

The Post added that Marth is reportedly also a teacher in the Easton Area School District, and it remains unclear what impact her pending criminal case will have on her employment there.

Superintendent David Piperato issued a statement after learning of the situation and said, “As a practice, the school district does not comment on ongoing criminal matters or personnel matters.”

“However, the school district intends to cooperate fully with the authorities in this matter and will take all necessary action to ensure the safety of our students.”

Alarming encounters

In a similar incident that came to light late earlier this year, a gym teacher in Florida was arrested on allegations that he conducted a sexual relationship with a 15-year-old student at the school where he taught, as the Daily Mail reported.

Arin Hankerd, now a former instructor at Atlantic High School was said to have had a history of warnings from school authorities about his conduct with female students and received a “letter of caution” back in March of 2020 and another in October of 2021, before a third was subsequently issued.

After Hankerd's arrest, former students and their parents came forth to describe their inappropriate encounters with the teacher, including a woman who told Fox News she began “unofficially dating” the teacher when she was a senior in high school, a time when he frequently bought her clothing, alcohol, and more.

“It was known he had a thing for soccer girls and freshman,” the young woman said, adding that she believes he evaded accountability for his behavior for long due to his good looks and personal charisma.