According to a story just released by the Associated Press, tormer U.S. figure skating champion Nicole Bobek has been sentenced to five (5) years Felony Probation for her role in a Crystal Methamphetamine ring in New Jersey.
The 32-year-old Bobek choked up in court in Jersey City on Monday as she said she was sorry. She pleaded guilty in June to Conspiring to Distribute Methamphetamine.
"Nothing but positive things can come out of this," Bobek said outside the Jersey City courtroom where she was sentenced Monday. "It's been a long 1½ years. I'm looking to get back onto that ice."
She was among twenty eight (28) people accused last year of running a network that allegedly distributed $10,000 worth of methamphetamine per week.
The alleged leader of the group, Edward Cruz Jr., was sentenced last week to sixteen (16) years in prison.
Bobek won the U.S. figure skating title in 1995. But her disappointing 17th-place finish at the 1998 Winter Olympics took a psychological toll on her, according to her lawyer, Sam DeLuca. Bobek had been skating since age 3, forgoing high school and even home schooling for the rigorous, cloistered world of professional training, DeLuca said.
"Here is a girl whose star was shining ... and when the star went out, when the star started fading, she was not prepared," DeLuca said. She then fell into "a sleazy world" of drug addiction and bad influences, he said.
Hudson County Assistant Prosecutor Lisa Ledoux argued for a sentence of a year in the county jail, saying Bobek was no innocent victim and was not a minor player in the drug ring.
Superior Court Judge Kevin Callahan noted he had received letters on Bobek's behalf from former Olympic athletes, including JoJo Starbuck, and even rock 'n' roll musicians he didn't name.
Callahan warned Bobek that she was at a dangerous crossroads and that a single Violation of Probation or failed drug test could land her in prison for at least five (5) years.
Bobek, accompanied by her mother, applied to serve her probation near the family's Jupiter, Florida home. She was also ordered to serve 250 hours of community service and pay a $2,500 fine, plus additional court expenses.
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