Former Ohio State dive coach pleads not guilty to charges of sexual battery, pandering

Published:
Updated:

COLUMBUS – William Bohonyi Jr. stood quietly as a prosecutor announced the charges against him - three counts of sexual battery and one count of pandering sexually explicit material involving a minor.

Prosecutors allege that Bohonyi groomed and coerced an underage diver into a sexual relationship in 2014 while he was an assistant coach and she was a member of The Ohio State’s dive club. The pandering charge, prosecutors said, stems from Bohonyi asking the underage diver to record one of their sexual acts.

His attorney entered a not guilty plea on his behalf.

Advertisement - Story continues below

“The defendant was 28 at the time and engaged in a consensual sexual relationship with a high schooler who was part of the OSU dive club. He was one of the coaches. And so it is the nature of the relationship and the temporary or occasional disciplinary control that makes it an illegal act,” said assistant prosecutor Jennifer Rausch.

After learning of the relationship, The Ohio State University fired Bohonyi in August of 2014 for violating the university’s sexual harassment policy that bans relationships between university faculty or staff and students – especially when there is an element of coaching or counseling involved.

The underage diver, Estee Pryor, has spoken with 10 Investigates on several occasions. On Friday, she said she felt “vindicated” after learning that Bohonyi had been indicted and turned himself into the Franklin County Jail. Pryor referred questions Wednesday to her attorneys.

Pryor went to university police in 2014 but later asked that they not pursue the case. She told 10 Investigates in August that she went back to them four years later. The case was re-opened in January of this year and presented to the prosecutor’s office. A grand jury returned an indictment against Bohonyi on Friday.

Bohonyi’s attorney, Brad Koffel said Wednesday afternoon that “This was just strictly, a lawful questionable relationship - but not illegal."

Koffel also said that while Bohonyi and Pryor were both associated with The Ohio State Dive Club, he argued that Bohonyi was not in a position of authority or Pryor’s direct coach.

When pressed on this, Koffel said: “He had no direction, supervision, he couldn't put her on the team, take her off the team, discipline her. Couldn't show her how to do particular dives. He was one step above from being the lifeguard.”

10 Investigates found a document from 2014 in which university investigators said that “Mr. Bohonyi stated that he has had coaching responsibilites over (Pryor) for two years."

10 Investigates reached back out to Koffel late Wednesday afternoon. He said he still contends that Bohonyi did not have direct coaching authority over Pryor and that he was aware of the statements Will made four years ago.

Filed under: