Coach 'groomed' player for sex: police
A Winnipeg soccer coach accused of sexually assaulting and exploiting a young female player exchanged as many as 60 text messages a day with her as part of an alleged effort to groom her for a sexual relationship, CBC News has learned.
Details of the allegations against Steven Skavinsky, 50, emerged Tuesday after the CBC obtained a sworn search warrant affidavit authored by a Winnipeg police child abuse detective.
Skavinsky remains in custody pending a court appearance on Thursday.
He is presumed innocent of charges including sexual assault, sexual exploitation, possession of child pornography and internet luring of a minor.
Police applied for a search warrant to search Skavinsky's home in May after conducting a videotaped interview with the alleged victim. Police also spoke with her parents and Skavinsky himself.
The warrant allowed police to search the home for potential forensic evidence and seize items including computers, digital images, data storage devices and a sofa cover.
Text messages uncovered
According to the sworn affidavit police used to obtain the warrant, Skavinsky coached the girl's soccer team for two years.
However, it wasn't until May 3 that the then 13-year-old girl's mother noted she had been found near Skavinsky's home after leaving school early, the affidavit said.
The mother told investigators she found notes in the girl's room stating, "I love you Steve," Detective Const. Derek Charison wrote.
The mother also approached a local phone company to obtain copies of outgoing text messages from the girl's personal cellphone after calling the company and requesting them, Charison wrote.
The girl's father was also interviewed and admitted being "uncomfortable with the developing relationship … and was aware that they were texting and phoning each other on a regular basis," Charison stated.
The document said representatives of Child and Family Services were called in to interview all parties in May 13. After that, police were contacted and began their own investigation.
'60 times a day'
On May 22, the girl was brought to police headquarters in downtown Winnipeg.
In a videotaped interview, she said that "the relationship was a normal coach/player relationship at first, however towards the end of the first season, it became closer," Charison stated.
The two began text messaging each other, starting "once or twice a week and then it became more and more frequent." According to the documents, the two eventually began texting "before she went to school, after school and before she went to bed."
"They would text up to 60 times a day," the documents said. "Skavinsky asked her to call him and they talked about her parents fighting."
The girl told them that the coach drove her home three times after soccer because her father had to leave early. Each time, they made a stop at his home.
On the first two occasions, the girl said the coach hugged her inside the home, but the third incident "got a lot more physical," the affidavit said.
The girl alleged to police that on this occasion Skavinsky had intercourse with her on his couch, Charison wrote.
After that point, the two began exchanging digital images after he requested it, the girl told police. The pictures became increasingly graphic over time, the affidavit said.
"Skavinsky told her that if she didn't send the pictures, he wouldn't talk to her anymore," Charison wrote.
He also encouraged her to engage in phone sex with him, the affidavit said.
Following the interview, officers asked the girl to take them to identify Skavinsky's home.
The allegations against Skavinsky have not been proven in court.