Ashcraft sentenced to 21 years in prison for sex with player

Former LaPorte High School assistant volleyball coach Robert Ashcraft, left,  was sentenced to 21 years in jail in 2011.

Jon L. Hendricks, file, The Times

Maybe this happened at a Region school? Or one in Nebraska? Or maybe in California?

Or more than likely all three.

But we all know for certain these kind of things are happening way too often. And not enough folks are standing up for the kids.

Pedophile coaches are walking the halls of our schools and in our children's locker rooms. And too many are turning a blind eye.

We all have read about Jerry Sandusky at Penn State. We've seen what's happened inside the USA Gymnastics program, too.

Locally, there have been issues with LaPorte's volleyball program and Crown Point's softball team over the last six years.

So-called "educators" gain the trust and loyalty of teenagers when not enough people are watching, then go to a place that no one should ever go.

These pedophiles in nice clothes and prominent positions are despicable. Evil. They should be vomited out of our culture. But too many just turn away.

Years ago when whispers of a sick situation were circulating around the Region, an administrator in the know told me something that made me want to puke. He said that many schools would prefer to have a pedophile walking around a lunch room than to have bad headlines in the media.

So they quietly ask the pedophile to move on to another school in another place and the same kind of sickness continues. This happened several times in my years of doing this. Or even worse, the people in charge keep the freaks around and brush it all under a lumpy rug.

But somehow these pigs continue to get nice paychecks, while they are ruining young lives. Destroying innocence. Serving their own nefarious pleasures at someone else's expense.

Finding the truth in such cases is like trying to find Osama bin Laden in 2004: the light is hidden in a cave that only a few know about.

Friendships in the teacher's lounge stop true investigation. Parents worried about playing time can sometimes not see the obvious. Overpaid administrators not wanting to lose their snappy duds also block justice in some places.

The public servant's job is to teach and protect the children. If that isn't the No. 1 concern then each should quit and leave this important vocation.

If you see a coach or administrator walking around the lunch room like it's a dance club on a Friday night, you have to tell someone. This isn't negotiable.

Otherwise, this sin will continue and the blame is also on anyone who doesn't do the right thing.

If you've seen or know of text messages that could be used as evidence, tell someone. If you've seen situations that were so wrong and out of place, talk to someone.

My advice would be to tell the police. Or contact me. I won't turn a blind eye.

These disgusting pigs need to be stopped.

Our children need to be protected.

What more needs to be said?

This column solely represents the writer’s opinion. Reach him at


Steve has won awards during two different stints at The Times. In addition to being the Prep Beat columnist, he covers football, boys basketball and boys track. He is a long-suffering Cubs fan.