Former Geneseo trainer pleads guilty to enticing a minor

Staff reports

ROCHESTER — U.S. Attorney James P. Kennedy, Jr. announced Wednesday that former Geneseo Central School District athletic trainer Austin Pratt, of Conesus, pleaded guilty to enticement of a minor before U.S. District Judge Elizabeth A. Wolford.

The charge carries a mandatory minimum penalty of 10 years in prison, a maximum of life, and a $250,000 fine.

Pratt, 32, is a former trainer in the Geneseo Central School District who was employed by F.F. Thompson Hospital of Canandaigua. His employment was terminated following his arrest in January 2019. At the time, authorities said Pratt was residing in Wayland.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Melissa M. Marangola, who is handling the case, stated that between November 2018 and February 2019, the defendant, while working as a school athletic trainer, engaged in an ongoing relationship with the minor victim. Pratt used Instagram and Facebook to communicate with the minor, encouraging the victim to engage in a sexual relationship and to exchange sexually explicit photos with him. 

In October 2019, a federal grand jury returned a five-count indictment charging Pratt with enticement of a minor, production, receipt, and possession of child pornography, and transfer of obscene matter to a minor.

Marangola previously stated that according to the indictment and a previously filed complaint, on Jan. 12, 2019, the New York State Police were notified by the parents of a teenaged minor girl that they found a large amount of text messages on their daughter’s phone from her school athletic trainer.

During an interview with the victim, she told investigators that in November 2018, Pratt began texting her. Simple texts regarding an injury the victim suffered led to nude photographs being exchanged between the two using Instagram, authorities said.

Some of the text messages between the defendant and the victim included:

· “I seriously cannot stop thinking about you or wanting you. This is crazy to me for only knowing you for a few weeks and I’m not sure how to navigate these feelings as I’m obviously married and our age difference which plays a huge role in all this. I love talking to you and being around you and all I want is to be with you. I hate the fact that I am 16 years older than you and that we have to hide and be sneaky.”

· “Nothing would happen to you lol. My life would be ruined.” The victim responded, “You get divorce papers and 20 years in jail.” Pratt responded, “Yuppppp... gotta be super sneaky.”

Subsequently, according to the complaint, Pratt and the victim engaged in sexual intercourse on Jan. 7, 2019, at the victim’s home.

The plea is the result of an investigation by the New York State Police, under the direction of Major Barry Chase; the Rochester Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, under the direction of Special Agent-in-Charge Stephen Belongia; and the Livingston County District Attorney’s Office, under the direction of District Attorney Gregory J. McCaffrey.

Sentencing is scheduled for Jan. 11, 2021, at 3:30 p.m. before Judge Wolford.