Coach pleads guilty to child pornography

VISTA — An ice skating coach who secretly filmed a 12-year-old figure skating student while she showered at his San Marcos home was sentenced June 28 to a three-year probation term and must also register as a sex offender.
In May, 41-year-old Marc Romain Mandina pleaded guilty to the felony charge of possession of child pornography.
San Diego Superior Court Judge Kimberlee Lagotta granted Mandina formal probation and suspended a one-year jail term, of which the defendant spent 32 days of in county jail.
Judge Lagotta said that if Mandina does not complete his probation requirements, he faces a three-year prison sentence.
Some of the probation terms include Mandina attend a sex offender counseling program, and other terms prohibit him from possessing pornography, a camera or toys.
He is also not allowed in Internet chat rooms, or to have any contact with children or allowed to coach minors.
In this case, the victim doesn’t know about the videotape or any court charges against her former coach, said prosecutor Keith Watanabe.
“The victim did not even know she had been videotaped,” he said.
Watanabe also said that the victim’s family is pleased that Mandina pleaded guilty, which spared the victim a testimony or knowledge of the ordeal, and that the family was also pleased with the settlement.
“Their primary concern was to not go to trial,” Watanabe said.
Mandina is a French National who was a professional ice skater in the 1990’s, and later came to the United States as a sought-after coach.
Watanabe said previously that the defendant had coached students in at least three San Diego County skating rinks until his wife found the videotape and turned it in to the authorities.
The victim’s father was a good friend of Mandina’s, and it was not uncommon for the girl to swim at her coach’s house, according to previous reports.
The San Diego County Sheriff’s Department issued a warrant for Mandina’s arrest in October 2010 after the tape was discovered in the defendant’s San Marcos home in 2007.
Mandina was in Boston, where he continued to work as a skating instructor, Watanabe said.
He was taken into custody Jan. 28, in Leominster, Mass.
Mandina’s attorney said after the court sentencing that his client feels bad about what happened, and that the defendant believes it was a fair resolution.
“This isn’t a case that’s a horrible one. He has no priors and he has never acted on any impulses or urges,” said Daniel Greene, defense attorney.
Mandina’s former brother-in-law Kirk Nichols attended the sentence.
“Ideally, we were hoping he’d be deported,” Nichols said. “He’s been an embarrassment to our family.”

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