Minnesota coach sentenced to 24 years for abusing skater

Paul Engh, one of the defense attorneys for Thomas Incantalupo
Paul Engh, one of the defense attorneys for Thomas Incantalupo, speaks to the media after the sentencing in Minneapolis on Friday. Incantalupo, a Minnesota figure skating coach, was sentenced to 24 years in prison for sexually abusing one of his skaters.
Leila Navidi | Star Tribune via AP

Updated: 3:44

Thomas Incantalupo
Thomas Incantalupo, a figure skating coach
Hennepin County Jail via AP

A Minnesota figure skating coach was sentenced Friday to 24 years in prison for sexually abusing one of his skaters.

Thomas Incantalupo, 48, of St. Louis Park, was arrested last year when he worked with the Eden Prairie Figure Skating Club. He pleaded guilty in June, admitting to sexually abusing the girl for over two years, taking her to hotels for sex beginning in 2015 when she was just 14 years old.

Incantalupo made a teary apology in court to his wife and the skating community. But the judge scoffed at a reference in a court document in which Incantalupo allegedly characterized the abuse as an "affair."

"This is not cheating on your wife," Hennepin County District Judge Peter Cahill said. "This is a crime against a child."

The survivor delivered a victim impact statement to the court, saying her coach's abuse turned her dreams into a nightmare. "He robbed years of my childhood and I'll never get those years back," she said.

One of Incantalupo's lawyers, Paul Engh, argued for a 12-year sentence. Engh said his client has lost his reputation because of media exposure and has "been abandoned in the community."

The attorney for the survivor's family, Sarah Klein, the first known victim of former USA Gymnastics national team doctor Larry Nassar, called for reform in the U.S. Figure Skating organization, the Star Tribune reported. She said her client and family demonstrated tremendous courage and added that "throughout the world of figure skating, children are still at risk."

Klein said U.S. Figure Skating has a "long and shameful history" of putting money, medals and the reputations of coaches above children's safety. The attorney said her client plans to file a civil suit against the organization.

A spokesperson for U.S. Figure Skating did not immediately respond Friday to an email request for comment.

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