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Swim coach gets 18 years for kidnapping, sex assault of girl, 13

Rodney Woolford | Cook County sheriff's office

A 61-year-old man was sentenced to 18 years in prison Wednesday for kidnapping and sexually assaulting a 13-year-old girl he had hired to help him teach swim classes in the Irving Park neighborhood.

On two separate occasions in July 2014, Rodney Woolford picked up the victim at her house and brought her to his home where he taught swim lessons in the 3700 block of North Ridgeway, according to Cook County prosecutors.

Before classes started, Woolford would lure her to the basement to help him pick up towels and swimming equipment, and then have her lie down on a mat to “stretch” before practice, prosecutors said.

He then assaulted her, and threatened to hurt her if she told anyone, prosecutors said. The girl texted her mother after the second assault.

Wooldford was later charged with aggravated kidnapping and criminal sexual abuse, in addition to child sex offender charges. Woolford was convicted in 1995 of assaulting a child in Lake County, but was no longer required to register as a sex offender in 2014.

Woolford must serve at least 85 percent of the 18-year sentence.