A former Juneau-Douglas High School basketball coach and Care-A-Van driver accused of sexual assaults plead guilty in a change of plea hearing in Juneau Superior Court on Thursday.
James Hamey plead guilty to an amended charge of sexual assault in the second degree, avoiding a jury trial previously scheduled for this week.
Judge William Carey in Anchorage heard the plea telephonically.
Hamey had faced two charges stemming from incidents on or between July 1 – 15, 2010 of first degree sexual assault, both unclassified felonies.
In court, Hamey’s attorney Louis Menendez stated Hamey would enter a plea of guilty but his position will be he denied the offenses.
State’s attorney Amy Williams objected saying “If Mr. Hamey, in order to plead guilty, must in fact admit that the charges including in the charging documents are true.”
Williams said the state would not go forward with the plea agreement if that was the defendant’s position and did not think the court could accept that plea.
Carey agreed, saying that would be problematic.
Menendez said Hamey would admit to the amended Count 1 of the indictment, a class B felony that carries a presumptive range of 5-15 years and a fine of $100,000.
Hamey was previously found guilty in Juneau court on Oct 19, 2010, in a 2009 sexual assault case and is waiting sentencing in that case. That case stemmed from Hamey’s time as a Catholic Services Care-A-Van driver and an incident where he went to the home of a client and touched her breast without her consent.
That previous case was included in this sentencing.
As part of the agreement, Hamey would plead guilty to second degree sexual assault with a proposed sentence of 15 years, with 10 suspended and five to serve with 15 years supervised probation. He could have no contact with any of the victims.
As part of the plea, the state recommended a sentencing in the 2009 case of 10 years with 5 suspended, 5 to serve and 15 years probation. One year of the time to serve would run concurrently and 4 years consecutively between the two cases giving him a total of 9 years to serve.
Hamey would also admit to aggravating factors in the 2010 case, that it was a matter of domestic violence and a most serious crime. A jury would have had to be unanimous in finding that the incident involving the victim was one of domestic violence and a most serious crime.
Hamey would withdraw all mitigating factors, factual aspects that could change the presumptive range, and any other pending motions in the 2009 case and requests for a three-judge panel.
Sentencing was set for May 23. Hamey will be allowed to remain out of custody under previous probation restrictions until that time.
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