MCKEESPORT, Pa. — Channel 11 has learned a former youth coach and McKeesport teacher already in jail for alleged sexual abuse against children is facing more charges dating as far back as 2015.
Eric Fairman faces new charges of endangering the welfare of children, indecent assault, unlawful contact with a minor, corruption of minors, and sexual assault by a sports official, volunteer or employee.
Fairman is now accused by 14 young men, who were 10-12 at the time, of child sex crimes, including statutory sexual assault, involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, promoting prostitution and sex assault.
Court documents say the crimes happened over a course of several years. Fairman was a math teacher at McKeesport Middle School, the varsity baseball coach at Keystone Oaks and a coach and substitute teacher at Thomas Jefferson High School.
Three new victims came forward in recent weeks, according to court documents. The criminal complaints state that some of the victims knew Fairman as a “family friend,” who committed the assaults at the victims’ homes.
According to the victims, Fairman made his assaults seem “casual” with horseplay that led to inappropriate touching. Fairman is also accused of sending inappropriate texts to the victims.
An attorney who was previously listed as representing Fairman could not be reached for comment by the time this article was updated.
Channel 11 spoke with a pediatrician and child advocate.
Dr. Mary Carrasco, Director of A Child’s Place PA, could not address the specific allegations related to Fairman, but she spoke with Channel 11 about grooming behavior in general.
Dr. Carrasco says it is common for abusers to “gain the trust of multiple different people.”
She said that there are a lot of misconceptions about abuse, with people tending to assume that an abuser is “that weird stranger from outside.” But, rather, “most sexual abuse” is committed by people who are related to or otherwise close to the victim, she said.
Likewise, she said that there are misconceptions about who can fall victim, with people tending to think it happens to kids who are “quiet and shy,” when in reality, any child can be targeted.
“That doesn’t mean you can’t trust anyone,” she said. “It just means, don’t let your kids be in situations where abuse can occur.”
“You need to make kids aware of being in situations where they’re vulnerable,” she added. “Kids don’t necessarily think about that.”
Some victims are unaware that what’s happening to them is wrong. Others may perceive it as being their fault. Some abusers will manipulate or threaten their victims, making them feel guilty or afraid to tell anyone about the abuse.
Dr. Carrasco said it’s key for trusted parents or guardians to have open communication with their children.
“The best way to do it is to try to find out everything that’s going on with the kid... the child may not know it’s wrong, but if the child talks to the parent about everything that’s happening, parents might be able to pick that up.”
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