Wednesday, March 03, 1999

Judge increases teacher's bond


He allegedly contacted girl

BY WALT SCHAEFER
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        BATAVIA — A judge increased the bond Tuesday from $75,000 to $175,000 for a suspended high school teacher accused of having sex with two female students.

        The action by retired Butler County Common Pleas Judge George Elliott, who handled the Clermont County Common Pleas Court hearing, resulted from a prosecutor's motion claiming Batavia High School teacher John Walker contacted the girl involved in a sexual battery he is charged with committing.

        The motion, filed by special prosecutor Rick Gibson, stated the girl is “a witness in this case” and the contact was made “in an effort to improperly influence her.” Such con tact violates stipulations of the bond.

        Mr. Walker is accused of beginning improper relationships with girls while they were students at the school. He faces 45 counts of sexual battery. He has pleaded not guilty.

        Twenty-seven of the sexual battery counts could each bring a sentence of two years to life in prison because each of those counts contains a stipulation qualifying the offender, if convicted, as a sexual predator.

        The penalties are the result of a January 1997 law. Should Mr. Walker be convicted and later released, he would be required to register as a violent sexual offender.

        The other counts carry a mandatory sentence of one to five years.

        Judge Elliott increased Mr. Walker's bond and admonished him.

        “Any, and I mean any, failure to abide meticulously by the terms of the (new) bond — and the terms remain as they were before today — ... will result in revocation of the bond,” the judge said.

        Following the hearing, Mr. Walker, 45, was taken into custody by Clermont County sheriff's deputies. He posted the additional bond Tuesday afternoon and was released.

        Mr. Gibson and Mr. Walker's attorney declined to comment. Judge Elliott has conducted the bond hearings because the defendant is the brother of Clermont County Common Pleas Judge William Walker. Judge Elliott also declined to comment.

        The conflict of interest also prompted Clermont County prosecutors to assign Mr. Gibson, a Hamilton County assistant prosecutor, to try the case.

       



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