09/12/2013 04:05 EDT | Updated 11/12/2013 05:12 EST

Kelsea Joy Hepburn Sentenced To 18 Months In Jail For Relationship With Underage Girl


Kelsea Joy Hepburn, a former Calgary ringette coach who engaged in an intimate relationship with one of her underage athletes, was sentenced to 18 months behind bars today.

Hepburn was convicted by jury earlier this year on two sex charges - invitation to sexual touching and sexually touching a child under the age of 14.

Justice Paul Jeffrey told the court Hepburn's grooming of the 13-year-old girl for a sexual relationship was worse than any physical encounters that happened, the Calgary Herald reports.

"She knew exactly what she was doing. If caught, she'd go to jail. She even told the victim if she was caught she'd go to jail, yet she took advantage of her allegiance while in a position of trust and touched her sexually in three incidents. She put her own desires ahead of the victim, over whom she was in a position of trust," Jeffrey said.

According to the Calgary Sun, Jeffrey said it was the invitation charge which warranted an 18-month sentence.

Hepburn, 24, admitted earlier this year the teen's mother found her and the girl with their pants down in the girl's home, but insisted nothing happened.

She said she never wanted to get into a situation like that and that she made a mistake.

Metro Calgary reports the victim, who cannot be named, now suffers sleeping problems, anxiety and has trust issues.

Jeffrey told the Calgary Herald he was surprised to receive numerous letters from Hepburn supporters.

"If it was possible for some of them to serve some of Hepburn's prison time, she'd have lots of volunteers."

Hepburn must also register as a sex offender, provide a DNA sample and not coach or work with minors until she has successfully completed sex offender treatment.

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