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Prison sentence reduced for former Ohio State diving club coach in sexual battery case

William Bohonyi was sentenced to four years in prison after pleading guilty to charges stemming from an inappropriate relationship he had with an underage diver.
Credit: Franklin County Sheriff's Office

COLUMBUS, Ohio — A former Ohio State diving club coach is getting his prison sentence reduced.

William Bohonyi was sentenced last August to four years in prison after pleading guilty to sexual battery charges stemming from an inappropriate relationship he had with an underage diver on Ohio State’s dive club.

According to Bohonyi's attorney Brad Koffel and Franklin County Prosecutor Ron O'Brien, Bohonyi will spend up to six months at a facility for non-violent, felony offenders.

Bohonyi served as an assistant coach before being fired by the university in 2014 for violating the university’s policies.

After spending a year in prison, Bohonyi’s attorney requested that his client be released from prison early – citing concerns about Bohonyi’s diagnoses of lupus, asthma and celiac disease amid the current threat of COVID-19 in Ohio’s prison system.

A judge denied that request – in part – and instead ordered that Bohonyi be sent to a community-based correctional facility for additional treatment before being placed on probation for up to five years, according to Koffel.

Prosecutors opposed the request for judicial release, citing that while the case was pending, Bohonyi texted the victim in the case and threatened to strike her in the head with a baseball bat.

Koffel said the judge denied the defense’s initial request and instead ordered that Bohonyi be transferred from to River City Correctional Center in Cincinnati, a state-run alternative to prison.

It’s not clear when that transfer will take place. Bohonyi currently is being housed at the Franklin County Jail after spending less than a year at the Noble Correctional Institute.

According to the River City Correctional Center’s website: “River City Correctional Center is one of 18 community-based correctional facilities in the state. The River City Correctional Center can accommodate 220 residents, consisting of 165 male and 55 females. The average length of stay is five months, depending upon the treatment needs of the individual. The maximum length of stay is six months.”

Koffel said he was unavailable for an interview, but released this statement to 10TV. The statement did not address our questions about the prosecutor’s concerns:

“The court did not grant our request that Will Bohonyi be released and placed on probation. Instead, the court took the very measured approach and placed Will into the custody of a secure facility in Cincinnati for more specific intervention that offers more efficacy than him simply being locked in a prison for the next three years. Upon his release from that facility he will under the strict supervision of the sex offender probation department for up to five years. The goal is to reduce the risk of recidivism and the route the judge took makes the most sense.”

According to prosecutors, the impact of the inappropriate relationship had a negative impact on the underage diver’s athletic prowess. She gave up diving after the sexual encounters with Bohonyi surfaced.

In past interviews with 10 Investigates and in statements made in court, the diver said she was groomed by Bohonyi and manipulated into a sexual relationship while a member of the OSU dive club.

She told OSU officials that the sexual encounters occurred in July of 2014. Bohonyi was fired the next month when university officials learned of the allegations and found he violated university policies. The diver went to police, asked them to open an investigation and then asked them to close it after being pressured from Bohonyi.

Prosecutors said Bohonyi texted the diver 940 times in an attempt to dissuade her from pressing charges. In January of 2018, she went back to OSU police and asked them to reopen the case. That later led to an indictment - accusing Bohonyi of engaging in sex acts with the diver in a parking garage on Ohio State’s campus.

As part of his guilty plea on sexual battery charges, Bohonyi will have to register as a sex offender.