2004-12-08 / Front Page

Former track coach faces sentencing

Coach pleads guilty to criminal sexual contact with student

Staff Writer

FREEHOLD — The former head track and cross country coach at Holmdel High School is scheduled to be sentenced on Feb. 18, after pleading guilty to having an affair with a student on his team.

Todd Lippin, 33, of 32 Crawford St., Eatontown, pleaded guilty on Nov. 3 to one count of criminal sexual contact, said Peter Boser, Monmouth County assistant prosecutor. Presiding was state Superior Court Judge Francis DeStefano.

Lippin was represented by Darren M. Gelber of the Woodbridge-based law firm Wilentz, Goldman and Spitzer.

Lippin is expected to receive five years’ probation, Boser said, adding that Lippin has also lost his teaching license.

“He will obviously not work with Holmdel schools,” Boser said. “There will be a number of conditions that go along with the probation.”

Lippin will undergo a number of psychological evaluations before he is sentenced, Boser said.

Although the second-degree crime Lippin committed can carry a jail term of up to 10 years, it is not expected that he will serve jail time because he has no prior criminal record.

“The maximum sentence is not something first time offenders generally get,” Boser said.

Boser said that it’s hard to judge whether or not five years of probation is a fair sentence because every case has its own circumstances.

“It’s hard to generalize; every offender is different,” he said.

Lippin was arrested last February after letters between him and the female student, who was between the ages of 16 and 18 at the time of the affair, were discovered by her brother.

Last Christmas the girl borrowed her brother’s computer. After winter vacation, he took his computer back to school with him, opened a file and found the letters. He immediately told his parents, who reported the incident to the Holmdel police, John Kaye, Monmouth County prosecutor, said following Lippin’s arrest.

Lippin was then arrested and ordered to avoid all contact with the girl.

He was officially terminated from his position as track and cross country coach on Feb. 12, 2003.

The affair took place over a nine-month period of time. The two were said to have had sexual contact at away track meets and at numerous track-related events.

The affair may have been consensual, but the girl’s age made it a crime.

Lippin’s probation will include a stipulation that he maintain absolutely no contact with the girl, Boser said.

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