Allen

‘I Felt Very Free': Teen Groomed by CrossFit Coach Confronts Abuser, and Herself

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A former CrossFit coach in Allen, accused of secretly recording women in his gym and soliciting a minor, has pleaded guilty.

Eric Bedunah, 33, was sentenced to six years in prison and 10 years of probation for crimes that came to light after a teenager spoke up about her abuse.

Deanna West, 18, says Bedunah began sending her nude photos and explicit messages after she joined CrossFit Allen in 2017. At the time, she was 14 years old.

“I brushed it off and carried on,” West said, reading the victim impact statement she delivered in court last month.

For about two years, West said the messages continued but she kept them a secret.

“I was terrified nobody would believe me because he's the father of two little girls and a husband. He was a coach, a mentor, and a role model,” West said.

After West quit the gym, she says the messages didn't stop.

She says she reported them to her school resource officer at Allen High School in 2019 which set off an investigation.

Inside the gym, investigators say a camera was found in a hole in the women's restroom. Prosecutors say photos from the camera showing several females, including West, were found on Bedunah's phone.

“He took my self-love away, he took my privacy away, he took my teenage years growing up away,” West said.

West says she's started writing her victim impact statement right after Bedunah's arrest, and while waiting two years to confront him in court, she confronted herself.

“Being a survivor is something that I love about myself and it gives me a new way to carry on with life,” West said.

West says her goal in sharing her story is for other victims to know it’s okay to speak up about abuse.

The gym, CrossFit Allen, has since changed hands.

It’s now owned by several members, one of whom was a victim in Bedunah’s case.

“Identifying myself and other females in photographs as we changed clothes or used the bathroom was shameful, humiliating, and insulting. I hope no girl or woman ever has to endure this experience,” co-owner Sunshine Maxwell said in her victim impact statement.

“We had the opportunity to close the door to the very place where you committed your crimes and took advantage of us,” Maxwell said.

An attorney for Bedunah could not be reached.

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