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Utah swim coach sentenced to 210 days jail for having sex with teen

Published April 12, 2013 5:02 pm

Courts • Victim's mother and Weber prosecutor pushed for prison time.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Ogden • Before the North Ogden teen met Jamie Waite, he was a churchgoing, honor roll student.

But after he began hanging out — and having sex — with Waite, his swim coach at Ben Lomond High School, things changed, according to the teen's mother.

The 17-year-old's grades slipped. And he stopped going to church because he felt guilty about drinking alcohol and having a sexual relationship with the volunteer coach, who was found guilty last month by a 2nd District Court jury of four counts of second-degree felony forcible sexual abuse.

"I want to thank you for opening your mouth and bragging about taking my son's virginity," the victim's mother told Waite in a statement read during Waite's sentencing hearing Friday. "But I do not thank you for being a part of my life. You are a part I wish I could erase. I hope my family never sees you again."

Waite, 37, was sentenced to 210 days in the Weber County jail. Second District Judge Scott Hadley suspended sentences of one-to-15 years in prison on each count in favor of the jail time and 36 months' probation. As part of her probation, Hadley ordered the woman to undergo a substance-abuse and sex-offender evaluation, and complete any necessary treatment.

Waite apologized, but continued to maintain that she never had a sexual relationship with the victim.

"I want to apologize to [the victim,]" she said. "Because I never meant to cause him any heartache or stress or problems, and I care about his well-being. ... I set a horrible example. For me, for my kids, for my swimmers, for my school, and I screwed up."

Defense attorney Emily Swenson said that while Waite denies the sexual relationship with the teen, she admits that she did not set clear boundaries with the students on her swim team and became too personally involved with the victim.

While Swenson asked for no jail time for Waite, the victim's mother and Deputy Weber County Attorney Teral Tree asked the judge to sentence her to prison.

"She entirely violated that trust that was given to her," Tree said. "That has had an effect on the high school, on the sport of swimming in Utah. That has had an effect on everybody who sends their children to someone they don't know."

Waite was arrested in March 2011 after a friend told police that Waite detailed to her about having sex with the teen.

During Waite's three-day trial last month, the teen, who is now 19, testified he and Waite had sex at least 20 times from November 2010 to February 2011.

He testified he first had sex with Waite after a party in November 2010. They drank shots of vodka at the party, he said — the first time he had ever tried alcohol — and then he went back to Waite's home with her and a friend, Isaac Gonzales.

After Waite had gone into her bathroom to take a shower, the victim testified that Gonzales dared him to go into the bathroom, so he did.

It was there where the two had sex on her bathroom floor, he testified.

Gonzales testified that while his memory of that November night was fuzzy — it was also his first time consuming alcohol — he said he remembered opening Waite's bathroom door and seeing the two having sex.

Swenson said that issues with Gonzales' testimony, including that Waite's trial attorney was never informed Gonzales would testify about seeing the two having sex, is one of many reasons she is asking for a retrial.

Other reasons include instances of possible jury misconduct. According to the motion asking for a new trial, Swenson said an alternate juror belonged to the same Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints ward as some of the witnesses. Swenson also said that a disagreement between two jurors regarding whether someone had threatened a juror during the trial was not adequately addressed at trial.

No date was set Friday for oral arguments regarding that motion for a retrial. Swenson asked the judge to postpone Waite's jail sentence until the trial issues were addressed, but Hadley denied the request and Waite was taken into custody.

jmiller@sltrib.com

Twitter: @jm_miller