BETHEL PARK (KDKA) — A former high school strength and conditioning coach will stand trial on charges he had a sexual relationship with a teenage student.
Brian Dankert, 27, is facing eight different charges. He allegedly took naked photos of himself and sent them to a 17-year-old girl. He’s also accused of having a sexual relationship with her.
“I’m not defending what happened here – don’t get me wrong – there’s no way a 27-year-old should be communicating in this manner with a 17-year-old,” Patrick Thomassey, the suspect’s defense attorney, said. “But, you know how it is today with these kids here – 17 going on 27.”
Police say Dankert was hired to coach the teenager as a member of the Bethel Park High School Softball Team. Police say they became Facebook friends and the relationship developed from there.
“She’s 17, he’s 27. Things start back and forth and pretty soon people say and do things that they shouldn’t do,” Thomassey said.
Thomassey adds this is the danger of social media for anyone.
“Comments, pictures, I mean, most of us wouldn’t go up and show this kind of picture to a kid, but on the internet it’s real easy, just send,” he said.
The photos were discovered on the 17-year-old girl’s cell phone by her mother who contacted police.
Dankert waived his right to a preliminary hearing. He’s scheduled to return to court in September.