New Jersey Youth Wrestling Coach Sentenced To More Than 7 Years In Child Sex Abuse Images Case

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — Federal prosecutors say a New Jersey youth wrestling coach and former state champion who made headlines for becoming the NCAA’s first openly gay college wrestler has been sentenced to more than seven years in a case involving images of children.

Alec Donovan, 26, of Brick was sentenced Thursday in federal court in Trenton to 87 months in prison on a previous guilty plea to a charge related to distributing images of child sexual abuse, the U.S. attorney’s office said Friday.

Prosecutors alleged that during the first four months of 2021, Donovan used a web-based messaging application to send three videos and receive two videos containing images of child sexual abuse involving pre-pubescent children. They also alleged he used the application to request nude photographs from minors and send them nude images.

In addition to the prison term, U.S. District Judge Zahid Quraishi sentenced Donovan to 30 years of supervised release, prosecutors said. A message seeking comment was sent Saturday to Donovan's attorney.

Donovan, a youth wrestling coach and referee who was a former New Jersey state high school wrestling champion, was the subject of a story on in 2015 after he publicly acknowledged he was gay while on a college recruiting trip. A 2017 story in the NCAA-published Champion magazine detailed Donovan’s struggles with depression in high school and his efforts to counsel other gay wrestlers.