A former New Jersey high school baseball coach convicted of child endangerment was sentenced Tuesday to 18 years in prison after apologizing to the families of his victims.
Bartholomew McInerney of Spring Lake Heights was found guilty in January of 10 counts of child endangerment for sexually explicit conversations and text messages with players and former players between the ages of 15 and 18.
Before he was sentenced in Superior Court in Freehold, McInerney apologized to the victims and their families.
"I would never, ever intentionally hurt a player that I coached," he said.
"I can't even imagine the anger and the hatred and the sorrow, the pain and the suffering that some and many of them feel as if they've gone through," he told Superior Court Judge Anthony Mellaci Jr. "My ultimate goal always was to help the players become better people, to relay that message to them, to try to teach them to have the most positive effect on as many people as possible."
During a three-week trial that ended in January, nearly a dozen players testified McInerney offered them cash for text messages describing masturbation. On several occasions, he actually gave them money in return for the messages.
The 44-year-old McInerney is the former baseball coach at St. Rose High School in Belmar.
The family of another young man, Andrew Clark, has filed a lawsuit contending McInerney "sexually abused, harassed and endangered" the teen, who was fatally struck by a train in Spring Lake in June 2008.
His death was never ruled an accident or suicide. In legal paperwork, St. Rose has denied any wrongdoing.
McInerney was to be sentenced on May 24, but failed to appear in court, claiming an unspecified illness. He was arrested later that day and held in the Monmouth County Jail until his sentencing Tuesday.
His lawyer, Charles Uliano, said McInerney is considering an appeal.