Convicted Utah sex offender helped with football team

Dec 16 2011 - 2:49pm

DARBY, Mont. -- The Ravalli County sheriff says an investigation is under way after authorities learned the wife of a new assistant football coach, who was allowed to help with football practice in Darby, faces sentencing next month for having sex with a 14-year-old Utah boy.

Suni Faith Andersen pleaded guilty Nov. 28 to two counts of forcible sexual abuse in St. George, Utah, the Ravalli Republic (http://bit.ly/thEhC3) reported Friday.

Deputy Washington County Prosecutor Ryan Shaum said Andersen, 36, was charged with having a two-year relationship with a boy who hired Andersen as a personal trainer in 2008, when he was 14. Sentencing is set for Jan. 31.

Andersen was arrested in June after the boy made a report to St. George police. Court records said police had the boy call Andersen and over the phone, she told the boy she knew the relationship was wrong, but she was in love with him.

Andersen's husband, Jason, was an assistant football coach for the Darby Tigers this fall. Some Darby residents voiced concern about Suni Andersen helping with football team workouts, the Republic reported.

A phone listing for the Andersens could not be located.

Sheriff Chris Hoffman said his office learned of the issue when it received a copy of one of the St. George newspaper articles in the mail.

"We looked into it, and all I can say is we're aware of the situation and there's a current and active investigation to determine if anything has happened in Ravalli County," Hoffman said.

Darby School Superintendent Lloyd Rennaker said the district's attorney had advised him not to comment, but he did confirm he has received complaints from parents about Suni Andersen being around students.

The school district's community relations policy does not allow registered sex offenders on school property.

However, Suni Andersen is not yet a registered sex offender. People convicted of sex offenses are not required to register as such until after they are sentenced, Shaum said.

Suni Andersen has been in Montana as allowed by her conditions of release, which include a restriction against being around children without supervision.

"If (the state of Utah) knew she was here, why weren't we notified?" Hoffman asked.

 

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