Poldervaart gets five years

Former FDSH assistant swim coach admits to sexually exploiting teen

Aaron Poldervaart

A former assistant Fort Dodge Senior High swim coach has been sentenced to a maximum five years in prison after pleading guilty to a sex offense involving a student.

Aaron Poldervaart, 22, of Fort Dodge, pleaded guilty to one count of sexual exploitation of a child by a school employee, a class D felony, during a hearing in Webster County District Court Monday afternoon.

Poldervaart admitted to having sexual intercourse with a female student, who was only identified as being under the age of 16, in July of 2016.

At the time, Poldervaart was an assistant swim coach at FDSH.

Before his sentencing, Poldervaart told Judge Thomas Bice that he was sorry for his actions towards the victim and her family. He also apologized to his own family and the Fort Dodge community.

Before he sentenced Poldervaart to prison, Bice spoke directly to the defendant.

“When parents send their child to school, they expect them to be in a place of safety,” Bice said. “You violated that trust to the core.”

Bice went on to say that Poldervaart caused “turmoil and torment” to the victim.

“What you did was disgusting. Reprehensible,” he told Poldervaart.

Bice criticized school officials across the state for not being more aware of employees like Poldervaart who might be committing crimes against students.

“We need to tighten things up,” Bice said.

Poldervaart’s guilty plea to sexual exploitation will follow him for the rest of his life and “that it will greatly impact your future,” Bice said. “If not, it should.”

Poldervaart’s guilty plea was part of a plea agreement between the Webster County attorney’s office and Derek Johnson, Poldervaart’s attorney.

As part of the plea agreement, two counts of third-degree sexual abuse were dismissed.

In a written statement, Webster County Attorney Jennifer Benson explained why her office felt the plea agreement was the most appropriate outcome for the case.

“With this plea agreement, the goals of the state were met while at the same time respecting the wishes and privacy of the young victim and her family,” Benson said. “In making plea agreements, we often have to balance many different factors. Here, our main goal was to send a message of deterrance, both to the defendant and others in our community who were similarly situated.”

She went on to say that incarceration is the best way to achieve deterrance.

“Prison will also provide the defendant with sex offender treatment and any other rehabilitative services deemed necessary by the Department of Corrections,” Benson said.

After Poldervaart serves his prison term, he will have a 10-year special sentence during which he will be supervised as if on parole. He will also be required to register as a sex offender for 10 years, she said

In addition, Bice issued a no-contact order between Poldervaart and the victim and her family, which will last five years.