EUGENE, Ore. -- A former martial arts instructor who sexually abused a girl he was coaching was sentenced to more than two years in prison Monday.
Gerald Strebendt was sentenced to two years and four months in prison with two years and eight months of probation. He will be eligible for credit for time served as well as good behavior and must register as a sex offender once he is released from prison.
At the end of March, Strebendt was found guilty of second-degree sexual abuse, but his sentencing was postponed "because circumstances came to light after the trial."
During a hearing on a motion for a new trial on Monday, it was revealed that two jurors wrote letters to the court about the jury's decision.
Strebendt's attorney Bryan Boender said one of the jurors, referred to as "juror number seven," disclosed that her had a "past experience that caused her to believe the victims in the case." Boender went on to note that he believes that is evidence of a "prototypical bias."
Deputy District Attorney Katherine Green argued against it being a bias, stating "jurors are allowed to rely on past experience, be it personal or otherwise."
Judge Clara Rigmaiden said it is her decision that there is no evidence of misconduct by the jurors in their sentencing process and denied Strebendt a new trial.
After Rigmaiden made that decision, the hearing moved on to sentencing.
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