Press-Republican

January 16, 2013

Former skate coach gets conditional discharge

By FELICIA KRIEG
Press-Republican

---- — ELIZABETHTOWN — A former skating coach has been sentenced to a one-year conditional discharge after admitting he sexually abused a 16-year-old student in a Lake Placid hotel.

Genrikh Sretenski, 50, could serve time in jail if he violates the conditions of the sentence, Essex County District Attorney Kristy Sprague told the Press-Republican on Tuesday.

In a plea agreement, Sretenski pleaded guilty to endangering the welfare of a child, according to a press release from the DA’s Office. 

As well, “the defendant had to fully allocute to his actions and also enter a plea of guilty in Village of Lake Placid Court to assault in the third degree.”

He did so, Sprague said.

The Clarksville, Md., man was originally indicted on a felony charge of first-degree sexual abuse, as well as three misdemeanors: third-degree sexual abuse, forcible touching and endangering the welfare of a child.

HUNDREDS OF TEXTS

The charges stemmed from a single incident on July 28, 2011, in the Village of Lake Placid when Sretenski, then a skating coach, touched the breasts of the student/trainee in his hotel room, the press release said. The abuse happened when he and the skater were in the village for the Lake Placid Ice Dance Championships, according to a $5 million civil lawsuit filed by the victim’s father in Price George’s County, Md., in July of 2012.

The lawsuit alleges that Sretenski sent more than 500 text messages to the girl, among them one saying, “I go crazy when I look at you,” and another that read, “I love you,” the suit said. 

Sretenski continued his advances even after the girl asked him to stop, according to the suit. It also says he not only fondled the girl but also kissed her against her will.

The “elite, nationally acclaimed skater” quit ice skating because of the abuse and suffered severe emotional distress, according to the suit. 

The civil case is still pending, according to the DA’s Office.

Although Sprague declined to comment in detail on that case, she did say in an email: “This plea will help facilitate the civil suit for the plaintiff.”

‘EMOTIONAL CASE’

The whole situation was difficult for the teen, the DA said.

“This was a very emotional case for our young victim ... One day, she was skating and pursuing her dreams, the next, she was in the criminal justice system testifying against a man she trusted, and then she was completely shunned by the skating community which she was practically raised in,” Sprague said in the release. 

“This conviction allows her to move on with her life, allows the skating authorities now to be able to impose any sanctions and/or penalties on the defendant and provides no basis for appeal.”

The victim chose to not to bring the case to court, where she would have to be “re-victimized all over again” during cross-examination, Sprague said in the release. 

The girl was “vindicated by the defendant’s admissions, which to her, meant more than any of us could imagine.”

TURNED HIMSELF IN

On Sept. 4, 2012, Sretenski was arrested on a warrant at his Maryland home and taken to Howard County Jail. He posted $50,000 bail on Sept. 11 then, upon a judge’s order, surrendered his passport and the deed to his home. 

He was given 72 hours to give himself up to New York State Police, which he did on Sept. 14 last year.

From the State Police barracks in Ray Brook, he was taken to Essex County Supreme Court in Elizabethtown for arraignment, authorities said.

Sentenced Jan. 10, Sretenski was also ordered by the court to pay a fine/surcharge, and a final order of protection for the victim was put in place, the DA’s Office said. 

Email Felicia Krieg:

fkrieg@pressrepublican.com