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Circus coach gets in jail for sexual assault of child

A former circus coach is accused of sexual assault of a 7-year-old student. He has got 10 years of imprisonment and can spend the rest of his life behind bars.

If he is released, Vladimir Avgoustov, who pleaded guilty to the aggravated sexual assault charge in June, faces deportation to his native Russia.

On Tuesday, Vermont District Court Judge Christina Reiss imposed the sentence recommended by prosecutors because she said she felt Avgoustov posed a continued threat to the public. The man's lawyers had asked for a sentence of five years to life.

"The court does not believe this crime came out of nowhere," Reiss said.

Avgoustov testified that his actions were due to loneliness and depression. He told his attorney that castration would be an appropriate punishment.

"I do understand the crime I have committed and am ready to bear the punishment," Avgoustov said through a translator. "I had no evil intentions toward this child."

The victim, who had enrolled in a summer camp session coached by Avgoustov, told her mother he had performed sexual acts on her. Her father said Avgoustov betrayed a trust.

"Our daughter is the only one who came forward," the father said. "Mr. Avgoustov has taken something he cannot give back."

When the assault occurred, Avgoustov and his wife - former members of the Moscow State Circus - were working as coaches for The Vermont School of Circus Arts, which was created two years ago but closed after his arrest.