FBI: Wanted ex-track coach from Uni High now in Russia

By Steve Contorno

Former University High School track coach Yuri Ermakov, who was convicted of criminal sexual assault on Thursday, has reportedly fled the country after skipping his guilty verdict.

Champaign County Sheriff Dan Walsh said he has learned from FBI officials that Ermakov has taken refuge in Moscow. Walsh said the FBI has completely taken over the investigation at this point.

“We started out working very closely with the FBI, but now they’re just telling us what is going on,” Walsh said.

A no-bond warrant was issued for Ermakov’s arrest when it was apparent he wasn’t going to show up to hear his sentencing. Ermakov was initially released from custody on a $15,000 bond paid in March of 2006.

Troy Lozar, a senior assistant state’s attorney, said it was surprising Ermakov decided to take off.

Get The Daily Illini in your inbox!

  • Catch the latest on University of Illinois news, sports, and more. Delivered every weekday.
  • Stay up to date on all things Illini sports. Delivered every Monday.
Thank you for subscribing!

“We have people flee or fail to show up all the time. But it’s very rare to stay through the entire trial until deliberations and then flee,” Lozar said.

Ermakov, 25, was also convicted of contributing to the delinquency of a minor and was acquitted of attempted aggravated criminal sexual abuse. The class one felony carries a four to 15 year mandatory sentence. Lozar said it could be more now that Ermakov has skipped court.

“(Handing down a stricter sentence) is up to the judge,” Lozar said. “The judge has full discretion to change the sentence if he thinks it’s been warranted, and I think (Ermakov’s) actions might very well be within that reason. Instead of being a responsible adult and taking his punishment for his behavior, he avoided it.

“In the long term, he’s not doing himself any favors. He’ll regret this in the long run,” Lozar added.

Ermakov’s criminal sexual assault charge came from an incident involving a 15-year-old girl he dated for several months while he was working for University High School. The delinquency conviction stems from claims he supplied alcohol for two high school girls who were between the ages of 15 and 16 at the time.

Lozar said the state’s victim services department had been in close contact with the victims but could not comment as to how the individuals felt about Ermakov fleeing.

Bringing back Ermakov for his sentencing, set for Aug. 20, may prove some considerable difficulty because of diplomacy issues between the U.S. and Russia. Though, as Lozar said, the U.S. has more than 200 extradition treaties with nations around the world, currently, there is no such agreement between the two countries.

At the time of print, the FBI had not returned phone calls on how it would go about retrieving Ermakov.