Former Coventry Man Sentenced on Charges of Risk of Injury to a Minor and Enticing a Minor
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
(Vernon, CT) – Matthew C. Gedansky, Tolland State’s Attorney, announced that Zachary Vannais, 28, previously of Coventry, was sentenced today in Rockville Superior Court on two counts of Risk of Injury to a Minor, in violation of Connecticut General Statutes 53-21(a)(2), two counts of Enticing a Minor, in violation of Connecticut General Statutes 53a-90a, and two counts of Misrepresentation of Age to Entice a Minor, in violation of Connecticut General Statutes 53a-90b, for a total effective sentence of 10 years execution suspended after four years served, to be followed by 10 years of probation. He will also be required to register as a sexual offender with the Connecticut Sex Offender Registry.
Vannais’ sentencing follows his arrest in March 2020 in connection with multiple incidents occurring in November of 2019 through January 2020, in the town of Coventry where Vannais served as a basketball and baseball coach for the Town of Coventry Recreation Department. Court records show Vannais created a fake social media account posing as a high school-aged female and contacted eight students who played on his team, soliciting nude photographs. In some of these instances, he would offer to pay or provide gifts if the victims sent him nude photographs. All but one victim was under the age of 16 at the time.
The victims became alarmed by these solicitations, and alerted their parents and later the Coventry Police Department. Vannais admitted to Coventry Police that he did in fact use a fake account to solicit these images from the students he coached. The Coventry Police Department later executed a search and seizure warrant on Vannais’ cell phone and confirmed the crimes on his social media account.
“This case highlights the risks associated with young people, predators and social media,” Supervisory Assistant State’s Attorney Jaclyn Preville, who prosecuted the cases, said. “More importantly, however, it highlights the fact that sexual offenders can hold themselves out to be pillars of the community, gaining the trust and confidence of children and parents alike. The children who were victimized by Mr. Vannais, and their families, should be commended for the courage it took to come forward and report these incidents. It can often be difficult to report cases of sexual abuse and grooming, and the bravery of these families cannot be understated.”