Williams receives jail time
A former Minnesota State University Moorhead track coach will serve nine months in jail for repeatedly striking a child with a belt. James Williams, 50, was sentenced Mon-day in Clay County Dis-trict Court to nine months in jail and five years su...
A former Minnesota State University Moorhead track coach will serve nine months in jail for repeatedly striking a child with a belt.
James Williams, 50, was sentenced Mon-day in Clay County Dis-trict Court to nine months in jail and five years supervised probation.
He pleaded guilty Sept. 9 to a charge of third-degree assault, admitting he struck a 9-year-old boy with a belt six or seven times in February.
During a sentencing hearing Monday, Williams apologized for hurting the boy.
"I am very sorry this happened," he told District Judge Kathleen Weir. "I can guarantee nothing like this will ever happen again."
Williams was charged in March with assault, malicious punishment of a child and making terroristic threats.
A court complaint said Williams beat the boy with a belt and threatened to kill the child with a shotgun.
The child was a guest in Williams' home when the incident took place. Williams said in court records he had disciplined the child for stealing money.
Under an agreement with prosecutors, Williams pleaded guilty to a third-degree assault charge and the remaining charges were dismissed.
He also was fined $535 and ordered to have no contact with the boy.
In court Monday, Assistant Clay County Attorney Ken Kohler called the case "sad."
He said Williams, who was hired by MSUM in 1999, came to Moorhead as a role model.
Williams' abusive behavior was especially troubling because of his leadership role in the community, Kohler said.
Williams' employment at MSUM ended in July. He had been on unpaid leave since charges were filed in March.
Defense attorney Bruce Quick said his client seems to be eager to move forward and serve his time in jail.
"He's anxious to get this behind him," Quick said. "He's never been in trouble before.
"And I never expect him to enter a criminal justice courtroom again," Quick added.
Williams reported to jail a month ago. Quick said if Williams gets credit for good behavior, he could be released in five months.
Readers can reach Forum reporter Cole Short at (701) 241-5557