OGDEN — A jury Friday deliberated just under 90 minutes before finding a former Ben Lomond High School swim coach guilty of a 3-month sexual entanglement with one of her swimmers.
Jamie Waite, 37, will be sentenced on April 2 on four counts of forcible sexual abuse by 2nd District Judge Scott Hadley. She faces a possible prison term.
In closing arguments Friday afternoon, the prosecution depicted Waite as spinning a web for young men. The defense claimed she was the real victim.
“One of the lasting images of this case is of (the 17-year-old) when the word gets out about this case at the high school,” Deputy Weber County Attorney Teral Tree said in his summation. “As he’s walking down the hall, there are boys congratulating him and giving him high fives.”
But because the illicit sex involves an older woman “Do we give it a pass?” he asked the six-woman, two-man jury.
“If Jamie was the male and (the victim) the female, would it look different? Would you have people waiting months to disclose what they knew?” Tree asked.
Tree listed all the people who had some knowledge of the situation, including Amy Levy, a close friend of Waite’s who testified to her bragging about the affair. For Levy, the last straw came at a sacrament meeting of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints ward the two attended, when Waite told her the affair had ended with the victim.
However, she was taking up with a new underage teen, gesturing at the young men serving the sacrament. Levy testified that’s when she believed Waite had become “a predator” and reported her to authorities.
Another person talked of Waite worrying about the definition of statutory rape, while yet another testified to defriending Waite on Facebook when she told him of the relationship with the teen half her age.
Also, various friends of the victim spoke of what they heard from him of the sexual activity.
“My son’s life is changed because of her,” the victim’s mother said after the verdict came in. “I’m glad the jury saw straight through her.
“He was an A and B student before this. He’s never experienced anything traumatic until she came into his life. She can’t hurt any more boys now.” He was not on hand for the verdict.
Waite sobbed during the reading of the verdict, and was still crying 15 minutes later in her father’s arms.
In his closing arguments, public defender Randall Marshall argued that the case falls apart without the testimony of the victim, who had motive to lie.
Police were already convinced of the affair by the time they talked to the victim, Marshall argued, threatening him with prosecution if he continued to deny the affair, as he did initially.
Also, the victim testified Thursday to having sex with Waite more than 20 times, but could only provide detail regarding the first time, Marshall noted.
“Does that sound a little suspect?” he asked the jury.
That incident occurred in November, 2011, when he claimed Waite got him drunk at her neighbor’s party, then took him to her home for sex.
Marshall referred to two witnesses who believed the victim could have taken advantage of Waite’s inebriation that first night, even possibly drugged her.
The host of the party testified to going to Waite’s home to check on her at the time the victim said that sexual hookup took place, worried because Waite had left the party stumbling drunk. She found the victim passed out and Waite hunched over a toilet vomiting.
Marshall said the boy, now 19, could just as easily be guilty of forcible sexual abuse for taking sexual advantage of Waite.
“She is not guilty of having sex with anyone,” Marshall told the jury emphatically in conclusion. “She is the victim.”
But the defense had only a handful of people to testify to that possibility, leaving Tree to call it “a complete fabrication.”
Waite will be sentenced on four counts of forcible sexual abuse, a second-degree felony, for illicit contact with the young swimmer from November 2010 through January 2011. She was the assistant swim coach at Ben Lomond at the time, a volunteer position. Each count carries a possible prison term of one to 15 years.
The forcible sexual abuse statute doesn’t have language explicitly covering intercourse. It does include wording regarding “taking indecent liberties” which can include statutory rape, officials explained, wherein a minor victim, although a willing participant, legally cannot give consent to sexual relations.
The victim had tried out for the swimming team as a sophomore, where he met Waite, whose assignment was working with beginning swimmers. The affair came his senior year.
“His parents sent him off to learn to swim,” Tree said in closing. “He came back completely violated. And he still seems to care about the defendant.”