April 24, 2014

Former girls coach convicted of sex assault of player

A former high school girls basketball coach accused of sexually assaulting one of his players will spend some time in prison. Rory McKellips, 56, was found guilty of two of the four charges against him at about 12:05 a.m. Saturday.  He was found not guilty of repeated sexual assault of the same child, which required proof the defendant committed first or second degree sexual assault with the victim on at least three occasions. McKellips was also found not guilty of exposing his genitals or pubic area.

After the second verdict was read, the 17-year-old female victim ran from the Marathon County courtroom in tears.

The third verdict was read, finding McKellips guilty of using a computer to facilitate a child sex crime. Specifically, the jury agreed McKellips had sent thousands of text messages, voice mails, and phone calls using his cellphone, the victim’s cell phone, and another cellphone McKellips provided to the victim after hers was taken away by her parents.

McKellips was also found guilty of several instances of resisting or obstructing an officer. This charge was related to McKellips responses to investigator interviews and for hiding his cell phone, only to have it turn up later with very little data still on it.

There were no happy faces in the courtroom, as neither family and their supporters heard everything they wanted to hear from the jury. The eleven women and one man on the jury deliberated just over five hours, and some showed tears as they re entered the courtroom with the verdicts.

Judge Michael Moran revoked McKellips bond, and ordered him remanded to the Marathon County Jail. A pre-sentence investigation must be completed in the next ninety days, and a sentencing date will have to be set.

McKellips faces between five and forty years in prison for the count three felony. Defense attorney Thomas Brown told the court he plans to file post conviction motions, and said his work isn’t done yet. Prosecutor Theresa Wetzsteon would have liked convictions on all counts, but is pleased that McKellips was found guilty and can no longer be a danger to the community.

However long the prison term is, McKellips will have to register as a sex offender when he is released from custody.

WSAU