Thursday, June 18, 2009

Baseball Coach William Jacobsen Guilty of Sexual Abuse

A Bell County jury returned a guilty verdict Wednesday afternoon in the trial of former youth baseball coach William Thomas Jacobsen, who was charged with two counts of continuous sexual abuse of a child in a series of incidents involving two young boys, one of whom was a member of his team.

Jurors returned the verdict after about a day of testimony.

On Tuesday, the victims detailed incidents that typically involved sleepovers at Jacobsen’s house where he gave boys alcohol and then singled one out for abuse, away from the others.

Jacobsen is the first person to be indicted and tried under the continuous sexual abuse of a child law, which went into effect in September 2007 and which raises the punishment range from 25 years to life without parole in certain sexual assault cases.

Jacobsen will be sentenced later.

The charges stem from an investigation that started on June 10, 2008 when deputies were sent to Scott & White Hospital in response to a report that a youth baseball coach had sexually assaulted a 13-year-old boy.

The boy told investigators the sexual assaults started about a year before and said the latest had occurred in early June. 2008.

Authorities identified at least four potential victims, but Jacobsen went to trial on charges stemming from incidents involving just two.

Jacobsen was relieved of his coaching duties after deputies advised the Little River-Academy Youth Baseball League about the investigation.

He was also relieved of his duties as a Little River-Academy volunteer firefighter.

Jacobsen didn’t stick around to wait for deputies to arrest him, however.

He and his wife fled the area on June 21, 2008 after an initial interview with investigators.

The two were fugitives for 50 days before being captured in Nuevo Laredo, Mexico on August 9, 2008.

Marilyn Wesson, 58, was charged with hindering apprehension.

She is scheduled to go on trial next month.

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