SL businessman, coach arrested for sexual assault

Becky Vargo • Mar 21, 2016 at 12:42 PM

SPRING LAKE TWP. — A West Michigan girls softball program has parted ways with a prominent member of its organization after he was arrested Monday morning for the sexual assault of a former player.

The assault was alleged to have occurred a few years ago when the player for the Michigan Sabercats team was 13 years old, said Capt. Mark Bennett of the Ottawa County Sheriff’s Department.

Thomas Barnes Galloway, 44, was arrested for first-degree criminal sexual conduct, a charge that involves penetration, Bennett said.

The Spring Lake Township man is lodged in the Ottawa County Jail on a $75,000 bond. He is awaiting arraignment on the charge.

“The probable cause certainly exists,” Bennett said.

Galloway and his wife, Ellen, are the owners of Galloway Custom Homes, a business that was involved in developments in the area. Those developments include Arcadia, which is adjacent to Spring Lake High School in Spring Lake Township; and Copperstone in Grand Haven Township. The Galloway website also featured Lakeshore Woods in Grand Haven Township as another one of the areas where the Galloways’ company was building homes.

Thomas Galloway is no longer associated with Arcadia and Copperstone, said At Home Realty’s Jake Hogeboom, who is the developer for Copperstone and whose company is also handling sales for Arcadia. 

Sandi Gentry, who is handling sales for Lakeshore Woods, said Galloway built one home in the development, but is not the development’s builder.

"The recent news regarding Tom Galloway of Galloway Custom Homes has shocked our company and those that have represented him in the past,“ Hogeboom wrote in a post Friday on the At Home Realty’s Facebook page. ”As soon as we learned of the accusations, we moved forward in canceling all representation and affiliations with him and his company in a swift manner.“

Kobey Nelson, a member of the Michigan Sabercats Board, said Galloway was a board member and a coach of the club’s team of 10-year-old girls when the situation came to light a couple of weeks ago. The organization formed an emergency committee and talked with Galloway, Nelson said.

“Once news of this leaked, we parted ways,” Nelson said. “It was mutual.”

Nelson said everything regarding Galloway was removed from the Sabercats’ website. The traveling girls softball team practices at a warehouse in Allendale and includes players ranging in age from 8-18.

An email, timed to correspond with Galloway’s arrest, was sent to 130 people in the organization on Monday morning, Nelson said. The letter was also posted on the Sabercats’ website (michigansabercats.com/index.php), in the upper right-hand corner titled “Important update.”

“The recent news concerning a prominent member of our organization most likely came as both shocking and appalling,” the letter states. “While we understand the situation remains in the ‘innocent until proven guilty’ phase, it is important to know what our organization has done internally.”

Nelson said they removed Galloway from the board and his coaching position immediately.

The Sabercats organization plans to keep the emergency committee in place to protect and educate the players “in absolute hopes of preventing any form of this from occurring in any aspect of life,” the letter states. It also says the 2016 season will go on as planned.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with any victims that may exist,” the letter concludes.

The Sheriff’s Department says the investigation is ongoing. Anyone with information should contact Silent Observer at 877-SILENT or online at mosotips.com




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