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Stories Added - March 2010
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Former Onalaska coach gets 8 years probation indecency
Polk County Enterprise
LIVINGSTON - A 58-year old former Onalaska High School coach was sentenced to eight years probation, assessed a $2,500 fine and will be required to register as a sex offender following entry of a “no contest” plea before Senior District Judge David Wilson on Tuesday, Polk County District Attorney Lee Hon said. Jimmy Lee Taylor, of Point Blank, was indicted by a Polk County grand jury for the Second Degree felony of Indecency with a Child stemming from an incident which occurred on Feb. 20, 2008 and which involved a 16-year-old female student. In March 2008, the victim reported to the Onalaska Police Department that Taylor had approached her in the gym locker room and touched her inappropriately through her clothing under the pretense of zipping her jacket. The victim said that the day before, Taylor had also brushed his hand against her in a provocative manner while she was helping him inventory athletic uniforms. During the investigation, Onalaska police discovered other female students who complained that Taylor had made them uncomfortable by placing his hands on them, massaging their neck and shoulders in class and making suggestive comments about their appearance. Taylor resigned from his coaching position on March 5, 2008, following an internal investigation by the school district. A jury was selected Monday and Taylor’s trial was scheduled to commence Tuesday morning. Prior to opening statements, Taylor’s attorney Matt McCormick of Huntsville, sought to exclude testimony by other girls who had complained of Taylor’s conduct toward them. After considering the argument presented by McCormick and by Hon, Wilson ruled that the other girls would be permitted to testify. Following the judge’s decision, Taylor, after conferring with his attorney, agreed to enter a “nolo contendere” plea in response the eight-year probation offer by the prosecution. Following Taylor’s plea, Hon said that he “hoped that Taylor’s sentence would discourage other teaching professionals from thinking they can indiscriminately touch students or speak to them in a sexually inappropriate manner. “In this case, we were dealing with 16- and 17-year-old girls and there is no justification for a coach to be touching them in places where they shouldn’t be touched, or commenting about their bodies.” Hon said.