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Arizona Daily Star (Tucson)


More than two years after her former track coach at the University of Arizona was arrested after she was stalked and threatened with a box cutter, Baillie Gibson says she still fears for her life.

In March, a Pima County Superior Court judge allowed the former coach, Craig Carter, to move to Utah, fewer than seven hours away from Gibson's new home in Wyoming.

In a recent deposition, Carter refused to answer whether he'd ever been to Wyoming or visited Gibson's home there. As a result, the Pima County Attorney's Office has asked the court to conduct an inquiry to see if Carter is complying with his conditions of release.

Carter is already accused of violating a restraining order Gibson's former roommate had against him. And because Carter has no court-ordered electronic monitoring, Gibson says she worries he'll come after her. She's in the process of installing a home-security system.

Gibson says she is scared every day. She scans parking lots for Carter's car and for people who look like him. In restaurants and coffee shops, she's afraid to sit with her back to the door.

"I can't even go anywhere and feel safe," Gibson said last week.

It all started in 2012 with some photographs, Gibson told ESPN in a May interview for "Outside the Lines," a television show that investigates sports issues off the field.

After competing at the U.S. track and field Olympic trials in Oregon, Gibson had too much to drink at a party and, heeding her coach's advice, called him for a ride.

The last thing she remembers is getting in the car, but the next morning, Carter showed her sexually explicit pictures he'd taken, threatening to send the photos to her family and post them on the internet, Gibson told ESPN.

It spiraled from there, she says, with Carter's behavior escalating to threatening her life and those of family members.

In April 2015, after three years of rape and terror at the hands of Carter, it came to a head when he assaulted her in his office, putting his hands around her neck and threatening her with a box cutter, Gibson told ESPN.

She was still terrified and unsure if she should go to police, but a week later, after she says he grabbed her outside of a classroom in front of other students, Gibson called the UA Police Department to report the incident in his office and tell her story.

The Star does not generally identify people who say they are victims of sex crimes, but Gibson has made her name public.

Weeks after going to police, Gibson graduated with a degree in family studies and human development, but she says she almost didn't finish the school year.

"I didn't care. I didn't even want to graduate, but a detective told me I should, that I deserved to," she said.

She returned to her hometown and took a job last year working with kids.

An All-American discus and shot-put thrower who dreamed of going to the Olympics, Gibson has not thrown since she left Tucson, saying that part of her life is over. "I wish it wasn't, but the passion is just gone," she said.

Gibson has been in counseling for years, saying that before Carter moved to Utah, she felt like it was making a difference.

"I kind of got myself upright, and then he moved to Utah," she said. "It felt like I took 10 steps back, because I was afraid again. Before, the fear had kind of went away."

After the ESPN story, Gibson says she received a tremendous amount of support. People from her hometown and across the country messaged her, with some women sharing their own stories of abuse and sexual assault.

Despite the progress she's made, Gibson says the fear consumes her daily and won't go away until the court proceedings are over and she feels Carter is no longer a threat to her.

But nearly two years after he was brought up on charges, Gibson says it feels like there's no end in sight.

"Why does it have to take this long?" she asked. "He already admitted everything, so why isn't he in jail? It's just taking forever, and I feel like there's never going to be justice."

In an interview with University of Arizona police, Carter waived his Miranda Rights and admitted to his crimes, court records show. He also acknowledged to ESPN that he physically assaulted Gibson and threatened to cut her face.

In a recent motion, Carter asked the court to continue his Aug. 1 trial date on charges of aggravated assault, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, stalking with fear of death and disrupting an educational institution, saying the "overwhelming negative publicity" the ESPN program and article garnered is prejudicial and won't be diminished by the trial's start.

A court date to address the motion to continue and several other motions is set for June 13.

Carter's Tucson attorney, Dan Cooper, did not respond to the Star's request for comment.

The criminal trial on accusations of assaulting Gibson and violating the restraining order against her friend aren't the only court cases in which Carter is involved.

In Nov. 2015, Gibson filed a civil suit against Carter and the UA, saying that he subjected her to repeated sexual assault.

Along with Carter and the UA, the lawsuit names as defendants the Arizona Board of Regents, head UA track and field coach Fred Harvey and former UA athletic director Greg Byrne.

As of the end of April, the state, which is paying for Carter's defense in the civil trial, had spent $335,500 to attorney John Munger, said Megan Rose, a spokeswoman for the Arizona Department of Administration.

In response to Gibson's civil suit against Carter and the UA, Carter filed a counterclaim against Gibson and her attorney, Lynne Cadigan, alleging emotional distress to himself and his wife.

With hundreds of court filings between the two civil cases and the criminal trials months away from starting, it sometimes feels like the turmoil will never end, Gibson said.

"I'm never going to feel safe until this is all over," she said.

"I want a normal life. I deserve that."

Credit: Caitlin Schmidt Arizona Daily Star

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June 4, 2017


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