By Will E Sanders
TROY — A former soccer coach will spend the next two years in prison for sexually battering a former female teen-aged player on his team, a common pleas court judge ruled on Monday.
Jeffrey S. Walden, 46, of Knoxville, Tenn., was convicted of two counts of sexual battery, third-degree felonies, after a March 3 plea bargain where he pleaded no contest and was found guilty of the charges. The plea agreement also stipulated a joint recommendation of two years in prison and that no other charges would be filed in the case by prosecutors.
Walden was a soccer coach for traveling soccer teams in the area, including the Dayton Gunners Football Club and prior to that as a coach for Brookville schools. He committed the crimes between Feb. 19, 2007, when the victim was 15, through March 27, 2010, when the victim was an adult, according to court documents.
Police reports stated Walden committed the sexual misconduct involving the then juvenile at Duke Park and the Casstown cemetery.
Christopher Bucio, Walden’s attorney, said the actions of his client were “out of character” and said he was “a great person” who made “a terrible decision.”
Walden’s father and fiance spoke on Walden’s behalf at the hearing and in a teary-eyed, religious-themed plea asked Judge Christopher Gee for leniency as about a dozen of the man’s supporters listened in court.
“I regret what happened,” Walden said, at one point making eye contact with the victim. “My behavior was wrong.”
Prosecutor Janna Parker, who noted that Walden was on federal probation and also left the victim with a $3,000 tax bill, said Walden’s family was trying to use the Bible “as a shield.” She called Walden’s actions involving the teen “manipulative.”
“You took years of my life that I will never get back,” the victim said in court, defiantly holding back tears. “You’re an adult, own up to your mistake.”
In the end, Gee ordered a prison sentence of two years and told Walden the victim’s injuries were worsened due to the victim’s age and since he was in a position of trust as a coach.
“You took advantage of her youth and vulnerability,” Gee said from the bench. “The victim will continue to carry baggage of this perverted relationship.”
A sex offender classification hearing for Walden is scheduled for Friday and at the hearing Walden will be classified as a sex offender for either the next 15 or 25 years, or possibly for life, which would require him to register as such in the county where he resides, works or receives an education on a routine basis. He was given credit for 137 days he spent in jail.
Walden, who faced up to one decade in prison, will also serve a five-year, mandatory term of post-release control after he serves his prison sentence.
Will E Sanders may be reached at 773-2721 or on Twitter @TheDailyCall.