Fairfield girl confronts ex-coach facing 8-year jail term for sexually assaulting her, sister
It wasn't dread because of a jail sentence he faced -- he's known for a month he would be going away for eight years for sexually assaulting two young Fairfield girls.
And it wasn't the dozens of green-ribbon-wearing victims' supporters filling the back of the courtroom -- many had been here when he pleaded guilty to the crime.
But behind the double doors of the courtroom waited one of his young victims, and Supervisory Assistant State's Attorney Cornelius Kelly had just told the judge the teenager wanted to address him before sentencing.
Schare, 44, a Fairfield resident and former swim coach at Staples High School in Westport, stared at his hands as one of his victim's fathers, standing before Judge Robert Devlin, tearfully and angrily admitted to Schare: "I really want to go after you in this courtroom. The only thing stopping me is that I would then leave my daughter without a father."
Then a grandfather called Schare a pedophile, and an uncle of a victim accused Schare of being a failure in life.
But every so often there was that furtive glance at the double doors.
Finally they opened.
The petite, 14-year-old brunette was escorted into the courtroom by her mother, but then walked alone to the prosecutor's table, clutching a piece of paper in her hand.
"I feel an intense dislike for you," she told Schare as he looked off in the opposite direction. "I'm stronger now," she continued calmly. "I don't live in fear of you anymore. When I told my mom, I did the right thing. I hope you have a difficult time in prison."
With that she strode to the embrace of her family.
Schare's lawyer, John Gulash, then set the stage for his client to address the court, assuring the judge that Schare was not maintaining his innocence.
Rising under the watchful eyes of several marshals, Schare faced the judge.
"I'm sure you hear many people apologize and promise to make amends, but I am profoundly sorry for what I did," Schare read from a sheet of white paper. "I deserve what's happening to me."
Devlin told the crowded courtroom that at first he was upset by the "cascade of hatred" he heard from the victims' families. "But I came to realize this was like an open wound. Bad stuff happens in this courtroom; believe me, I spend a lot of time here. But my advice to you is leave it here."
On the two counts of first-degree sexual assault, two counts of risk of injury to a minor and one count of fourth-degree sexual assault, the judge sentenced Schare to eight years in prison, followed by 10 years of special parole. He also ordered him to register as a sex offender and stay away from children.
Schare was coach of the Wreckers' boys swimming and diving team for seven years and also taught math at Staples.
Police said both victims, sisters who are now 14 and 10, are acquainted with Schare and attend school in Fairfield. The crime came to light when the older girl complained to a counselor at her school.
Kelly said the girls' mother later confronted Schare with her daughter's accusations, and Schare admitted sexually assaulting them. Kelly said Schare also admitted the assaults to a friend who went to police.
Schare had begun "grooming" the sisters when they were much younger, "promising favors such as food and sleepovers as rewards for his deviant behavior," according to the arrest warrant affidavit.
The affidavit states he began touching the girls inappropriately, which empowered him to advance his actions.
"A behavior he readily admitted to his wife was a lust for younger girls, an urge that he could no longer control," according to the affidavit.
Valerie Wilke, a licensed social worker, was later arrested after Kelly said Wilke, who had counseled the two girls after the assaults, did not report the assaults to police as required by law.
She also did not tell the girls' mother.
She is charged with failure to report abuse or neglect, and interfering with a police officer.