Rockford crew coach accused of secretly recording students agrees to plea deal

The Rockford crew coach accused of secretly recording female students has been offered a plea deal.

GRAND RAPIDS, MICH. - A former Rockford rowing coach who admitted to secretly recording female athletes in various locker rooms over a four-year period has agreed to plead guilty to two felony charges that could put him in prison for more than a decade.

Under the plea agreement, Timothy Warren Vallier is looking at a minimum of 15 years in prison for attempted sexual exploitation of children.

Vallier, 30, was arrested in July after two recent Rockford High School graduates helping coach the school rowing team found a video camera in the team’s SUV that was under Vallier’s control.

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He’d been secretly recording girls for 4-½ years, producing approximately 86 videos of minors at the Rockford High School Freshman Center and the rowing team’s boathouse beside the Grand River in Kent County’s Plainfield Township.

Those details are spelled out in a federal plea agreement offered by the U.S. Attorney’s Office. Felony information filed Tuesday, Sept. 20 charges Vallier with attempted sexual exploitation of children and possession of child pornography.

Although he and defense attorney Richard Zambon signed the agreement offered this week, Vallier still has to appear in U.S. District Court  to enter guilty pleas. A date has not been set.

Rockford Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Michael Shibler on Wednesday sent a letter to parents in the school district notifying them of the plea agreement and thanking investigators for their efforts.

"We would like to extend our sincere appreciation to local and federal law enforcement for their excellent work on this investigation, their professionalism, compassion for the victims and the swift execution of justice,'' Shibler wrote.

"Please join us in keeping the victims and their families who were forced to endure this ordeal in your thoughts,'' the letter states. "We, as a district, will continue to support them  in any way we can in the days, weeks and months to come.''

The plea agreement requires that Vallier waive indictment and plead guilty to the two criminal charges. Attempted sexual exploitation of children carries a minimum sentence of 15 years in prison with a maximum term of 30 years.

Between January 2012 and April 2016, he produced approximately 86 videos of minors by using hidden cameras “for the purpose of attempting to depict the lascivious display of the minors’ pubic area,’’ according to the plea agreement.

The second charge, possession of child pornography, is punishable by up to 20 years in prison. It does not carry a mandatory minimum term.

The possession charge requires that he admit to knowingly downloading child pornography from the Internet depicting minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct.

The agreement requires that Vallier forfeit electronics used to commit the offenses, including a Samsung digital video recorder, a laptop computer and a GoPro camera, court records show.

He was arraigned July 11 in Kent County's 63rd District Court on five state charges, including producing child sexually abusive material, a 20-year offense.  State charges were dismissed when the case was transferred to federal jurisdiction.

(© 2016 WZZM)


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