Former Onalaska Coach Sentenced to 8 Years Probation for Indecency with a Child, LIVINGSTON, March 24, 2010 - A 58 year old former Onalaska High School coach was sentenced to 8 years probation, assessed a $2500 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. Jimmy Lee Taylor, of Point Blank, had been previously indicted by a Polk County grand jury for the Second Degree felony of Indecency with a Child stemming from an incident which occurred on February 20, 2008 and which involved a 16 year old female student. In March of 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 stated that the day before, Taylor had also brushed his hand against her in a provocative manner while she was assisting him in inventorying 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 had previously resigned from his coaching position on March 5, 2008 following an internal investigation by the school district.
A jury was impaneled on 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 Polk County District Attorney Lee 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" in response the 8 year probation offer by the prosecution. Judge Wilson clearly pointed out to Taylor that any violation of probationary rules and Taylor will find himself in the penitentiary for a long time. Following Taylor's plea, Hon stated 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 added, "Coach Taylor exercised extremely poor judgment in his behavior toward these young ladies. His career as a coach and an educator is now over and I hope the sentence imposed by Judge Wilson in this case will discourage others in the educational profession from making the same mistakes."
If you would like to comment on this story, we'd love to hear from you. Your name will be listed with your comment when it's posted in the Letters to the editor.