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A swimming coach who was employed by the city of Commerce pleaded no contest Friday to sexually assaulting a 7-year-old girl at a city aquatics center and was sentenced to six years in prison.

Steven Matthew Garcia, 28, pleaded no contest to a felony count of lewd act upon a child and a misdemeanor count of indecent exposure. As part of his sentence, he also must register as a lifetime sex offender.

According to prosecutors, Garcia fondled the 7-year-old victim in an employee lounge at the aquatic center and threatened her not to tell anyone. The fondling occurred sometime between October 2016 and January 2017.

When Garcia was arrested in January, Commerce City Administrator Jorge Rifa called the conduct “reprehensible.”

He said the city “took action immediately that led to the arrest of Garcia” by sheriff’s investigators. “This alleged conduct is not representative of the caliber and professionalism of Commerce employees who continue to provide exceptional public service every day.”

–City News Service

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