URBANA — A softball coach who allegedly began a sexual relationship with a teenage member of her team has been criminally charged.
Candace Welch, 29, who listed addresses on Peach Tree Street in Urbana Township and in the 3700 block of Boulder Ridge, Champaign, remained in the county jail Tuesday after being arraigned Monday in Champaign County Circuit Court for criminal sexual assault, aggravated criminal sexual abuse and criminal sexual abuse.
Assistant State’s Attorney Scott Bennett said Welch allegedly initiated her relationship with the then-15-year-old girl while they were at a softball tournament in Peoria in July. The contact reportedly continued through the fall of 2012 and the teen often spent the night at Welch’s home, he said.
The alleged contact came to the attention of the sheriff’s office in early December, according to Lt. Ed Ogle, when a neighbor tipped police about it.
The teen was interviewed at the Child Advocacy Center and said she was in a “dating relationship” with Welch that included them engaging in various sex acts. Bennett said Welch admitted engaging in those acts and said she knew the girl’s age at the time.
Welch is due back in court Feb. 19. She’s being held in lieu of $250,000 bond on the felony charges.