Friday, October 22, 2004

Former coach gets 3 years for sex with 13-year-old



By Sharon Coolidge
Enquirer staff writer

[photo]
John Haller, 22, appears for sentencing Thursday. At left is his lawyer, R. Scott Croswell. Haller was sentenced to three years in prison for a sexual relationship with a young player on a team he coached.
The Enquirer/GARY LANDERS
A former St. Bernard youth softball and soccer coach was sentenced to three years in prison for a sexual relationship with a 13-year-old girl on one of his teams.

Hamilton County Common Pleas Judge Thomas Crush sentenced John Haller Thursday on seven counts of sexual battery, charges Haller pleaded guilty to in August.

Haller had a sexual relationship with the girl between October 2003 and April 1- in Haller's mother's home, at his adult girlfriend's home and in his car, police said. The girl got pregnant and had an abortion, Crush said during sentencing.

In the aftermath of the relationship, the girl, now 14, dropped out of school and no longer plays on sports teams, Assistant Hamilton County Prosecutor Jennifer Deering said. "Her life has been dramatically altered."

Crush also designated Haller, 22, a sexual predator, meaning he has to register his address with the sheriff's office in the county where he lives for 10 years.

"What I did was morally wrong," Haller told Crush. "...I'm so sorry. I never meant to hurt anybody."

Said Deering: "Despite his statement, there is a complete lack of remorse." He noted that a court-appointed psychologist had said Haller has a lack of insight into what he did and has rationalized his behavior.

Haller also repeatedly called the girl after he pleaded guilty, despite a court order that he stay away from her, Deering said.

E-mail scoolidge@enquirer.com




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