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Sanford gymnastics coach's trial ends in plea bargain

Phillip Thompson, 31, pleaded guilty Monday to sexual battery, a misdemeanor.

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Phillip Thompson
SANFORD, N.C. — A former gymnastics coach pleaded guilty Monday, ending his trial on molestation charges.

Phillip Thompson, 31, faced charges of indecent liberties with a child for incidents involving underage girls at the Sanford Academy of Cheerleading, Martial Arts, Dance and Gymnastics, at 2731 Lee Ave.

Jurors told the judge Monday that they were hopelessly deadlocked.

After meeting with both prosecutors and defense attorneys, Judge Frank Lanier allowed Thompson to plead guilty to sexual battery, a misdemeanor, and sentenced him to 120 days in prison.

Thompson, who has been in prison since his March 2008 arrest, got credit for time served and was expected to be released Monday. He will have to register as a sex offender.

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