CANTON, Mich. (WJBK) - A former Canton High School assistant hockey coach was given to two years of probation Thursday for having a sexual relationship with a minor after text messages revealed the girl had lied about her age.
Eric Locke, 20, was charged with three counts of third-degree criminal sexual conduct for an inappropriate relationship with a 15-year-old girl.
The former assistant varsity hockey coach pleaded guilty to the charges. The relationship took placed between November 2016 and February of this year, according to the Wayne County Prosecutor's Office.
His attorney says Locke met the girl through Tinder.
Before issuing a sentence, Judge Richard Skutt read text conversations between Locke and the girl.
"The defendent texted, 'Wait, hang on, you are 17 correct?' to which the complainant replied, 'Yes,' and the exchange continued OK haha any younger and we would have a problem," he read.
He then read a conversation in which Locke said he had checked a yearbook, which led him to believe she was in fact younger.
She told him that she was "old" for being a junior in high school because she had begun school at a later age.
"I find the records that I have reviewed demonstrate that this was a consensual situation," Wayne County Circuit Court Judge Richard Skutt said.
Because of that, the judge determined Locke deserved a second chance. However, he did warn that it is inappropriate for a coach at a high school to have those types of relationships with students.
Locke was given two years of probation, during which he may not come in contact with drugs, alcohol or the plaintiff. He must receive specialized therapy through a community program, and must be supervised to if he were to approach someone under 17.
Canton police say it was the girl's mother who told school resource officers about the relationship. Then a social worker interviewed Locke and he was arrested.
Canton HS assistant coach charged with criminal sexual conduct
Locke had been assigned to serve as assistant hockey coach at Canton High School by a company named CoachEZ.