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Former JDHS coach sentenced on sexual assault charges

James Hamey to serve combined nine-year sentence

Posted: May 23, 2011 - 9:54pm

The former JDHS basketball coach found guilty by a jury on Oct. 19, 2010 on a charge of second-degree sexual assault and who subsequently pled guilty on Feb. 17, 2011 to a similar charge involving a second victim was sentenced Monday in Juneau Superior and District Court to a composite nine-year sentence.

James Hamey, 64, will serve nine years with 15 suspended in the two cases, with a possible release in six years, under an agreement reached by defense attorney Louis Menendez and Assistant District Attorney Amy Williams.

Judge Philip Pallenberg sentenced Hamey to 10 years with five suspended and five to serve for the initial charge stemming from an incident in 2009 when Hamey, a Catholic Services Care-A-Van driver at the time, went to the home of a client and touched her breast without her consent. That victim submitted a letter to the court and read it at sentencing.

Ketchikan Superior Court Judge William B. Carey, sitting in for Judge Keith Levy, sentenced Hamey later in the day in the second case to 15 years with 10 suspended and five to serve, with one year running concurrently to the previous sentence and 15 years of probation.

Hamey admitted to the most serious aggravator of domestic violence in the second case involving incidents that occurred between July 1-15, 2010. That victim submitted a letter to the court but was not present.

Menendez said he had never met the victim but had reviewed all the police interviews and read her powerful letter.

“We don’t know a lot about her except that she made a report of a very serious crime in which my client pleaded guilty to in terms of sexual assault in the second degree,” Menendez said. “The people who have offered knowing something about this incident are Mr. Hamey and his wife.”

Menendez said their version was different from the victim’s. Their view was there was a relationship that had soured, and some time later the victim decided to report the incidents.

Menendez said his client pleaded guilty because of the previous jury trial and the toll it took on his wife, family, and friends.

Williams countered, saying Hamey was once again minimizing his involvement in the second case as he did in the first jury trial, that he believed the victim was in a relationship with him.

“In this case I saw an offender who is in ill health, who is aging, who has given services to the community of Juneau that many people are thankful for,” Williams said. “And I saw an extremely offensive crime. I saw something that was horrific for a woman who, in her statement to police, said she never thought she should have to be in that position at 60 years of age. I saw a woman who lost friends. A woman who no longer feels safe in Juneau. And that cannot be minimized because Mr. Hamey did a service to the community of Juneau as a basketball coach. Her insecurity she now feels should not be minimized by the court.”

Carey told Hamey this was his opportunity to tell him about the case and Hamey said he was very sorry to the community and the problems he brought to where he worked and lived.

“I am very sorry to my family and especially my wife,” Hamey said. “I take full responsibility for everything that has happened. I am not interested in bucking the system. I want to be successful from here on out; I want to do the right thing. I am not sure where the line is between admitting to something that, in my perception, wasn’t there and telling what really happened. I am not interested in arguing, I am not interested in blaming anyone other than myself. I have spent our life’s savings and put my wife in debt tens of thousands of dollars. I have lost my marriage and my family.”

Hamey stated he was sorry for the victim’s pain.

“I thought it was possible, even though we had a conflicted relationship for a short time, there was no time that I forced her or intimidated her, or did anything that wasn’t completely consensual,” he said.

Carey said he was not from Juneau but knew of Hamey’s reputation through sports and being in Southeast. Carey said the case was baffling on so many levels, that Hamey raised a wonderful family, participated in the community, and had a positive impact on many young people, but that in reading the presentencing report it was apparent something had happened.

“Alcohol probably had something to do with it,” Carey said. “Somehow the moral lines in Mr. Hamey’s line got blurred along the way.”

Carey stated that he didn’t believe someone like the victim could make this up, that the victim’s powerful letter in which she stated curling up into a ball in a crack of the house to avoid his physical presence after the assault hit home.

“Somewhere along the lines, the moral lines Mr. Hamey adhered to blurred and he engaged in criminal conduct,” Carey said. “And he admitted to it, and admitted the conduct as most serious as well.”

• Contact reporter Klas Stolpe at 523-2263 or at klas.stolpe@juneauempire.com.

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