Galloway pleas no contest to 4 counts of criminal sexual conduct

Becky Vargo • Jul 7, 2017 at 5:51 PM

A Spring Lake man charged with molesting one of the former softball players he had coached pleaded no contest to four counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct Friday afternoon in Ottawa County Circuit Court.

Thomas Barnes Galloway, 45, was remanded to the Ottawa County Jail pending sentencing on Aug. 7. A trial scheduled for August was canceled.

“Tom’s incentive going forward with the plea at this point was to spare all involved having to go through a trial,” said defense attorney John Moritz.

Moritz declined to make any further comment.

Galloway will go to prison for a range of 4-9 years at the minimum end of his sentence, according to the plea agreement. The maximum end of the scale could be 20-30 years more than the minimum, said Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Sarah Matwiejczyk.

Galloway will receive credit for almost a year already served in jail.

Moritz said the no-contest plea was entered because of possible civil liability. A no-contest plea is treated as a guilty plea for sentencing purposes.

Upon release, Galloway will have to register as a sex offender and will be on lifetime electronic monitoring.

Matwiejczyk said there is no mandatory 25-year minimum sentence because the victim was not under age 13 at the time of the offense, despite Galloway being in a position of authority over her.

In exchange for the plea, which includes habitual offender second offense, Muskegon County will not charge Galloway with criminal sexual conduct regarding an incident there with the same victim in 2013. Muskegon County will also drop a non-sufficient funds (bad check) charge in which restitution has already been paid, Matwiejczyk said.

Galloway has a 2012 conviction in Muskegon County for delivery/manufacture of marijuana. 

Ottawa County Judge Jon Hulsing on Friday went over some of the details of the case prior to accepting Galloway’s plea. Hulsing said the female victim was a softball player on a club team that Galloway coached. She was 13 years old in 2012 when she accepted a ride with Galloway to his home in Spring Lake Township.

According to court records, Galloway gave the girl alcohol, marijuana and a narco tablet before kissing and touching her. He then had her give him oral sex and then penetrated her. That accounted for three of the first-degree charges, Hulsing said. 

The fourth count was from a 2014 incident when the victim was cleaning a home in Grand Haven Township while employed by Galloway. He asked her to perform oral sex on him, and she did, the judge read.

“He used that authority to coerce and entice (the victim) to perform oral sex on him,” Hulsing said.

Galloway was first arrested in March 2016. He was released on bond, but went back to jail three times on bond violations, until he could no longer post the $500,000 bond set by now-retired Judge Ed Post.

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