Eric Fairman: Former teacher, coach sentenced after taking plea deal for sex abuse charges

ALLEGHENY COUNTY, Pa. — A former youth coach and McKeesport teacher in jail for sexual abuse against children will serve prison time after taking a plea deal.

PREVIOUS COVERAGE: Eric Fairman: Former teacher, coach facing sexual abuse charges appears in court

Eric Fairman, 26, was facing charges dating as far back as 2015.

PREVIOUS COVERAGE: Eric Fairman: Former teacher, coach facing more charges including statutory sexual assault

Fairman was accused by 14 young men in total. The victims were between the ages of 10 and 12 at the time of the abuse. His charges included statutory sexual assault, involuntary deviant sexual intercourse, promoting prostitution and sexual assault.

The courtroom was completely full on Thursday, and the overflow room was also packed. For several hours, families shared heart-wrenching stories of anger, hurt, and regret as they detailed their encounters with Fairman.

Following that testimony, Judge Jill Rangos stood to read Fairman’s sentence, families sat with locked hands, some still crying, others completely still, as she read that the man many of these families once called a friend was sentenced to 11 to 22 years behind bars.

The former McKeesport teacher and Keystone Oaks coach had built a reputation for being trustworthy.

“These cases are very sad. I think he’s fairly likable. I’d call him a stand-up guy,” said Fairman’s defense lawyer, Chuck Porter.

But on Thursday, as Fairman was sentenced, parents and victims said he was anything but honest.

One grandparent directly addressed Fairman’s attorney, asking him did he still thought his client was a “stand-up guy?”

A 14-year-old victim said he now feels like an outcast and many days, didn’t want to go to school. Once an athlete, the teenager said he no longer wants to pick up a ball.

A mom testified Fairman victimized her three sons, who are now ages 15, 18, and 20, from 2014 until 2022, when they were just boys; “He groomed my kids for his sick pleasure,” she read.

In total, eight victims and their families testified. Two more submitted letters to the judge, but Fairman also had a chance to speak.

He described his story as “a beautiful tragedy,” saying he lived a dual life.

He read, talking in the third person, “Eric was the teacher, coach, and hero. But Eric Fairman’s story hasn’t been told.”

He claimed he had been molested as a child and that his victims were the only ones he told.

He credited them for saving his life.

But Judge Rangos disagreed with Fairman’s narrative and stood up during her sentencing to address Fairman’s statement and the families, calling Fairman a narcissist who didn’t get the help he needed.

She then acknowledged the plea agreement may not feel like justice, before sentencing Fairman to at least 11 years in prison, 10 years of probation, and a lifetime registry on the Megan’s Law list as a sex offender.

Inside the courtroom, another victim not included in this case was also present, which could signal more charges will soon be filed.

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