Girl, 15, pleads to have Ohio man who sexually assaulted her stay behind bars

Eric Schmidt, a former youth football coach, is asking for an early release after serving less than half of a 3.5-year sentence.
Published: Feb. 21, 2023 at 9:56 PM EST
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CINCINNATI (WXIX) - A former Warren County youth football coach convicted of sex crimes against two young girls is petitioning to be released from prison early.

One of his victims is trying desperately to stop that from happening.

“I have nightmares from it,” the 15-year-old victim said, speaking on the condition of anonymity. “I have flashbacks... hallucinations...”

Eric Schmidt, 44, was accused of having sexual contact with two 12-year-old girls in April 2015 and September 2019 in Mason, according to Warren County Prosecutor David Fornshell.

In October 2020, a Warren County grand jury indicted the former Kings football program assistant coach with one count of rape, two counts of gross sexual imposition and two counts of public indecency.

A year later, a jury found him guilty of gross sexual imposition. They acquitted him on charges of rape and public indecency, court records show. The jury could not reach a verdict on other charges of gross sexual imposition and public indecency.

The girl and her mother are speaking to warn the community about Schmidt, who is asking to be released 15 months into his three-and-a-half year prison sentence.

“For him to be out, it’s... it’s terrifying,” said the victim’s mother. “I’m scared for her. I’m scared for us. I’m scared for the community.”

Warren County Common Pleas Court Robert Peeler scheduled a March 15 hearing to consider Schmidt’s request, court records show. Schmidt is currently in a medium-security state prison for men in Noble County.

“It’s like a slap in the face to the girls who poured out their most embarrassing moments on the stand and have to endure that pain all over again,” the mother said.

Her daughter is concerned that if Schmidt is let out, it could send the wrong message to other offenders and their victims.

“People like Eric teach girls that have been assaulted shame and guilt,” she said.

The girl says she’s still suffering from what happened to her. She’s seeing a licensed professional to help with her PTSD and depression and says Schmidt’s release petition has reawakened her trauma.

“The girls are going to be in a jail of their own for the rest of their live,” the victim’s mother said of her daughter and the other victim. “This is something they can’t change.”

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