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Former coach gets prison time for sexually assaulting student 17 years ago

Craig Debiase previously was sentenced to prison for sex assault in 2005, but the victim in this case didn't come forward until this year.
Credit: Arapahoe County Sheriff's Office
Craig Debiase

ARAPAHOE COUNTY, Colo. — A former teacher and basketball coach at Bishop Machebeuf High School who sexually assaulted a student 17 years ago will serve 12 years in prison, the maximum allowed under a plea agreement.

Craig Debiase, pleaded guilty to attempted sexual exploitation of a child, a Class 4 felony.

The victim, who is now 31, was a student at Bishop Machebeuf High School school when Debiase took her under his wing, according to the DA's office.

The sexual abuse lasted for three years, according to the 18th Judicial District Attorney's Office.

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Accusations about Debiase and other underage victims surfaced in 2005. At the time, he entered into a plea agreement and ultimately served less than two years in prison.

The victim, in this case, denied any involvement with Debiase in 2005 but came forward last month ready to confront him. 

“It is impossible to address the lifelong impacts that come from being abused and manipulated,” the 31-year-old woman told Arapahoe District Court Judge John Scipione. “This was a debilitating relationship, all about control and manipulation. I was 31 before I was able to accept that what he did to me was not love but was rape.”

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The woman described how Debiase took advantage of her and preyed on her and inserted himself between her and her family and friends.

“He preyed on us,” she told Judge Scipione. “He is a repeat sex offender and has never been appropriately punished for what he has done.”

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