Local News

Former NCSU Coach Released From Immigration Custody

Posted January 29, 2004 8:43 a.m. EST

— A former N.C. State diving coach arrested because of two previous sex offenses has been released from federal custody and has returned to his Cary home.

John Candler, 64 and a British citizen, was arrested eight weeks ago and has been in federal custody in Atlanta. He returned home Wednesday night after being freed on $20,000 bond.

Candler, who had never been to jail before, described his treatment as deplorable.

"I didn't realize human beings could be so mean to each other," he said.

Candler's arrest on Dec. 4 was part of an ongoing operation aimed at deporting sex offenders who are not U.S. citizens. The government says they pose a threat to society.

Candler pleaded guilty in 1966 to taking indecent liberties with a 12-year-old girl from Michigan. In 1985, he pleaded guilty to taking indecent liberties with a 15-year-old Wake County girl.

His release comes a week after an immigration judge in Atlanta barred the government from deporting Candler, whose wife, children and grandchildren all live in the United States.

Candler's attorney, Lynn Calder, said the government could still appeal the decision, but she doubted he would be locked up again.

Candler came to the United States in 1960 from England to dive for the University of Michigan. He competed for his native country in the Olympic Games of 1960 and 1964.

A day before he was arrested, Candler resigned from his coaching position of 36 years. N.C. State officials had begun an investigation after a Michigan woman questioned Candler's employment, given his criminal record.