NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. – A jury has convicted a former college basketball coach in New Jersey of sexually assaulting a male teenager who played on a traveling team that he also coached.
The panel on Wednesday found 45-year-old Christopher Tarver, of Jackson, guilty of sexual assault, criminal sexual contact, child endangerment, official misconduct and possession of child pornography.
Tarver was the men's basketball coach at Middlesex County College. He also was recreation director for the town of Dunellen.
Between 2010 and 2011, Tarver sexually touched the boy who had thought Tarver could help him achieve his goal of playing basketball for a major college, prosecutors said.
Tarver used that power and exploited the teenager for "his own sexual purposes," Assistant Prosecutor Brian Shevlin said.
The investigation began when the victim contacted authorities.
At opening arguments, Tarver's defense attorney, Peter Weiner, asked the jurors to keep an open mind during the trial and reminded them the prosecutors needed to prove Tarver's guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. He said Tarver had coached more than 500 people in the span of 30 years.
Tarver faces up to 50 years in prison when he's sentenced in March.
He also faces additional sexual assault charges involving three other children.