WELLINGTON, New Zealand, June 17. A 21-year-old female swim coach has been suspended for a year by Swimming New Zealand for having a sexual relationship with a 13-year-old male swimmer.
Stacey Friel escaped prosecution because of a legal anomaly in New Zealand that prohibits sex between men and underage girls, but not between women and underage boys.
Friel confessed to falling in love with the boy, who was not identified by the swimming association, during their six-month relationship and claimed to have double-checked the law to make sure it was legal to have sex with him.
"This charge was brought as a result of a complaint made to Swimming New Zealand regarding an inappropriate relationship by her with a 13-year-old member of their swim team," the swim association statement said.
Somewhat surprisingly to some, the Association president Warwyck Dewe said the one-year suspension was appropriate.
"While not a criminal act, we do not condone the actions of Ms Friel and wish to send a strong message to our members, parents and the public at large that Swimming New Zealand views her conduct with great disfavour."
A "strong message"?