A former athletics coach accused by many women of assaulting them when they were his high school athletes will stand trial.
A judge rendered his ruling on Monday after more than a week of testimony in the Chioke Robinson case. More than half a dozen women during their testimony recounted what they claim to be abuse by Robinson.
Robinson shook his head slightly as the judge ordered him to stand trial. Prosecutors told court Robinson was targeting the young girls.
“From the start, the accused was grooming these girls,” Deputy Prosecutor Anne Seery said. “He healed them. He manipulated them. He controlled them. He ruined them.”
Seery went on to say that Robinson “was a predator. And other girls tried to talk and he got away with it.”
Heather Hennessy said she needed her therapy dog to help her cope with the pain.
Hennessy was a runway star at Archbishop Mitty High School when she said the abuse began. She was then transferred to Los Gatos High School, where she said Robinson had followed her as a track coach.
“This guy harassed me, he attacked me when I was 14,” Hennessy said. “I had to face him harassing me all the way to high school.”
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Hennessy said she would be a witness at her trial. She is also suing the two high schools for what she called negligence in protecting their student athletes.
Robinson declined to comment on Monday. Her lawyer said she knew the trial would be an uphill battle.
“It’s really hard to get a fair trial in this type of situation,” said Laura Robinson, who represents Chioke Robinson. “He categorically claims his innocence – for these accusations and all these allegations. “
For now, Hennessy has said she will be relying on her therapy dog to help her get through the trial.