Ashcraft's wife: Relationship a myth

2011-07-11T16:45:00Z 2012-05-24T19:46:15Z Ashcraft's wife: Relationship a mythBy Jeff Burton, (219) 548-4354

LAPORTE | Rhonda Ashcraft told jurors she never saw any inappropriate contact between her husband, former LaPorte High School junior varsity volleyball coach Bob Ashcraft, and a teenage player.

"I would have said something to Bob," she told jurors.

Bob Ashcraft, 46, is on trial in LaPorte Circuit Court, charged with three felony counts of sexual misconduct with a minor and one felony count of child seduction in connection with an alleged sexual relationship with the former player, who was 15 at the time.

Rhonda Ashcraft, also a former assistant volleyball coach for the high school, did say her suspicions were raised in 2008, when she was called to the LaPorte Police Department amid rumors of the illicit affair. She said after she spoke to police, she told her husband to distance himself from the girl.

"I told him that he needed to be careful because it was just becoming ridiculous," she said.

Rhonda Ashcraft also countered the testimony of a number of former players who recounted incidents at tournaments where her husband and the alleged victim appeared to be questionably close, saying the girl always tried to position herself around her husband.

"She just seemed very needy, always wanting his attention," Rhonda Ashcraft said.

Along with her husband's attorney, Steve Snyder, Rhonda Ashcraft established dates, during which she said her husband would have been coaching volleyball or working at job sites and couldn't have engaged in the alleged sexual relationship.

Deputy Prosecutor Chris Fronk countered that while she knew the exact date her husband made a minor purchase from a lumber yard, Rhonda Ashcraft couldn't remember the year in which she and her husband helped establish the Dunes Volleyball Club.

Rhonda Ashcraft said in preparation for the case, she pored though files of old receipts in an effort to prove her husband's whereabouts, and thus remembered the dates and purchases.

The prosecution and the defense tentatively are set to make their closing arguments and hand the evidence over to the jury to begin deliberations Tuesday.

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