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Ex-Omaha high school coach pleads no contest to sex assault

Posted at 12:26 PM, Feb 01, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-01 13:26:47-05

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — A former basketball coach at a private Omaha girls’ high school pleaded no contest Friday to sexually assaulting a freshman player at the school years ago.

Andrea Lightfoot Knecht, 33, faces up to 50 years in prison when she’s sentenced in April, the Omaha World-Herald reported. She will also have to register as a sex offender.

Knecht is accused of abusing the girl at Omaha Marian during the 2012-13 school year, when the girl was 14 and 15 and a member of the basketball team. The victim is now a 21-year-old college student. Her case came to the attention of police when she took to social media last year to accuse her former high school of covering up her assault.

That prompted current Marian High School President Mary Higgins to dig into personnel files and report the matter to authorities. It also raised questions about why Marian officials didn’t report the assault in 2013.

A former Marian official, Susan Toohey, told the newspaper she fired Knecht immediately for improperly communicating a student, but said she didn’t report the relationship because she wasn’t told that it was sexual in nature.