Former UA track coach ordered to stay away from field

Published: Dec. 1, 2015 at 12:48 AM MST|Updated: Mar. 2, 2018 at 4:23 PM MST
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TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - A Pima County superior court judge has ordered a former University of Arizona coach to stay away from the track and field where he once worked.

Craig Carter, a throws coach, was charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, threats and intimidation with injury and damage, as well as stalking with fear of physical injury or death upon another.

He is currently out of jail on bond.

Prosecutors said they received information from other UA coaches that Carter had been allegedly driving by the Drachman track and field stadium off Plumer Street and yelling at athletes out in the field.

He is also accused of trying to contact the victim, a former athlete at the University of Arizona student who had been under his wing, through a third party. The judge ordered him not to contact the victim in any way, as a condition of his release.

Carter was arrested back in May 2015 for allegedly assaulting and harassing a student athlete who had been heavily recruited by the university with a full scholarship, and was considered a "star" in her field.

Earlier this summer, University of Arizona police released several pages of incident reports involving Carter. Police reports outlined several text messages sent by Carter to the victim, who has not been identified. Her attorney, Lynne Cadigan, said the victim was a small town girl from a Western state, who relied on her scholarship to go to college.

"When you're young, away from home, and not particularly sophisticated, and have dreams of becoming an Olympic athlete, this is the person in charge of your dreams what do you do?" Cadigan said.

Cadigan said this case is a tragedy.

"This is a two-time All-American athlete, three-time all-PAC-10 star...she could have gone anywhere," Cadigan said.

Police reports stated the victim's relationship with Carter became personal in nature two and a half years ago, when she confided in him about some personal problems.

Things got out of hand when Carter started texting her at all hours.

Police reports state when the victim asked him to back off, he became agitated, and lost control. Reports outline an incident that took place in the coach's office at the McKale Center, when the victim told Carter that she did not love him.

Police reports stated Carter held a box cutter up to her head and said "I'm going to cut those beautiful eyes out of your head."

Things got worse this spring. Reports indicate Carter sent the victim 57 messages in a one month time span. At least four of those messages were direct threats to the victim's life.

Some of the threats read: "If I didn't fear for my job, I would blow your [expletive] head off," and "You will look so bad when I'm done with you but still alive so you have to suffer everyday like I am."

In some of the texts, Carter threatened to kill himself, and in others, he warned the victim that he was watching her.

Police reports state Carter also sent the victim photo messages of himself holding what appeared to be the barrel of a gun in his mouth, and a belt around his neck, threatening to kill himself.

"Unfortunately she was in a sexually abusive relationship for two and a half years. It was not consensual. What this coach did was threaten her. Threaten to take away her scholarship, threaten to shame her," Cadigan said.

Search warrants indicate Carter was armed.  Police confiscated a 22-gauge Remington shotgun loaded with three shells, a gun case, a box of shotgun shells and a Daisy pellet rifle from his home.

Cadigan said her client returned home, and has been afraid to return to Arizona.

"This poor girl is terrified for her life. He threatened to kill her, kill her family, threatened to cut her to pieces, threatened to hurt her friends," Cadigan said.

Cadigan added that her client hopes her story will send a strong message to student athletes.

"What this girl wants is to make sure the student athletes know, they should not have to put up with this type of abuse, regardless of their Olympic dreams, it's not worth it," Cadigan said.

"I don't know if people understand the complete authority a coach has over a student athlete. They control when they can go home, what they eat, how they work out. Her dreams of becoming an Olympic athlete were completely ruined by his abusive power. This was never a consensual relationship. Never," Cadigan said.

Tucson News Now reached out to Carter for a comment. He said he has been advised not to talk about his case by his attorney.

University officials said he has resigned from his position.

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