A Crouse man and former Optimist Club sports coach will spend at least the next 15 years behind bars for raping a young girl, the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office said.
Judge William Bell sentenced Eddy Shane Heavner, 35, of Gaston Webbs Chapel Road, on Friday to 180 months to 276 months, lead prosecutor in the case Micah J. Sanderson said.
A jury convicted Heavner of statutory rape, statutory sexual offense and taking indecent liberties with a minor.
The criminal incidents took place Jan. 8, 2012, at the home of one of the victim’s relatives, deputies said.
At the time of the rape, the victim was 14 and Heavner was 34.
Initially charged in September 2012, the defendant was later released on a $20,000 secured bond.
Deputies said Heavner previously served as a West Lincoln Optimist coach and assistant coach with Cherryville Optimist.
The teen victim never participated on any of the defendant’s sports teams, the Sheriff’s Office said.
Heavner was jailed at the county detention center on Friday and transported the following day, deputies said, to the Department of Corrections Central Prison in Raleigh, where he will serve his sentence.
Sanderson described the case as “emotionally taxing” for everyone involved.
Sexual assault cases are never easy, he said, and is glad the event is over so the victim and her family, who were relieved of the trial’s outcome, can heal properly and “put this portion of the ordeal behind them.”