Charges filed in sex case

Dockstader faces three felony counts

The 14th Judicial District Attorney's Office largely is sticking with charges recommended by the Craig Police Department in the case of a former Moffat County High School golf coach accused of having sex with a minor.

Thomas Jay Dockstader, 45, is being charged with a Class 3 felony of sexual assault on a child by one of a position of trust as a pattern of abuse; a Class 4 felony of unlawful sexual contact and coercion of a child; and a Class 4 felony of contributing to the delinquency of a minor.

Dockstader was a golf coach for the Moffat County High School girls team for eight years. He also coached boys basketball at Craig Middle School.

If found guilty of the first two charges, Dockstader could be sentenced from a minimum of one day in prison to a life sentence, said Amy Fitch, chief deputy district attorney. The Class 3 felony carries with it lifetime parole upon conviction.

The charges nearly mirror those forwarded to the D.A.'s Office by Craig police based on their investigation. The "pattern of abuse" language pertains to the allegation that a sexual incident happened more than once.

"I don't know at this point how (I'll prosecute)," Fitch said. "Obviously, it's very serious."

Fitch said she hasn't yet spoken with the girl, who is now 18.

A charge against a person "in the position of trust" can mean anyone who is trusted to be in charge of a child when a parent is not around.

"The basic idea is that as parents, we can't be with our children all the time," Fitch said. "There are times when we entrust them to other adults."

Those considered in a "position of trust" include parents, baby sitters and teachers.

Fitch said the third charge of contributing to the delinquency of a minor pertains to allegations that Dockstader encouraged the girl to possess alcohol in July 2003.

Dockstader, who is out of jail on bond, allegedly had sexual relations with a Moffat County High School student when she was 16, during her junior and senior years, according to police interviews with the girl.

Dockstader resigned from duties as a school district coach Feb. 3, and police said they interviewed the girl and her family Feb. 4.

School Board member Trish Snyder said she didn't think board members knew of the alleged incident until Dockstader was arrested Tuesday. She said the board likely would not discuss the issue in open session while the case is being tried.

"It's definitely cause for concern," she said. "I hope whatever the truth is, that it comes out."

An arrest warrant in the case has been sealed to protect the identity of the victim, Judge Mary Lynne James wrote in a report.

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