Golf coach sentenced to jail time
As his wife wept, a former high school golf coach on Tuesday showed no emotion upon learning he would serve 148 days in jail for having sexual relations with a 17-year-old girl.
Thomas J. Dockstader, 45, pleaded guilty Sept. 8 to unlawful sexual contact by coercion, a Class 4 felony, and unlawful sexual contact, a misdemeanor.
His wife left the courtroom in tears, supported by friends. He was taken into custody.
Dockstader’s original charges of sexual assault on a child by a person in a position of trust and contributing to the delinquency of a minor carried a possible sentence of life in prison.
“You have a very beneficial plea agreement,” 14th Judicial District Court Judge Michael O’Hara told Dockstader. “You have a significant opportunity through this agreement.”
The victim in April accused Dockstader of having sexual relations with her while he was her golf coach, while he was her supervisor at Yampa Valley Golf Course and while she was baby-sitting his children.
“Mr. Dockstader violated my trust by using me for his own sexual gratification,” the victim said in court Tuesday. “Every time I tried to stop what I knew was wrong, he’d convince me not to. He used me with no regard for me, no regard for his children and no regard for his wife. Mr. Dockstader cares only about himself.”
Chief Deputy District Attorney Amy Fitch said Dockstader has shown no remorse for his actions.
“It does cause me great concern that it is apparent that Mr. Dockstader doesn’t understand what he has done to the victim and to her life,” Fitch said.
Fitch said Dockstader has blamed the victim by accusing her of initiating a sexual relationship and by saying the majority of the incidents occurred after she was 18 years old.
“I find that very disturbing on many levels,” Fitch said. “In our society, parents have to entrust their children to the custody of other adults. Mr. Dockstader and every other sex offender in cases like this violate that trust.”
The victim’s father said the crime was heinous.
“He knew what he did was wrong, not just criminally, but morally,” he said. “It’s time to take a stand against sex offenders.”
Fitch said the victim and her family supported the plea agreement, trying to balance their need for justice with the difficulties of sitting through and testifying at a criminal trial.
Dockstader’s comments Tues–day were short. He apologized to the victim and his own family for “all the pain I have caused.”
Dockstader’s sentence on the felony charge was deferred, which means a conviction will not go on his permanent record unless he violates the conditions of his four-year probation. But, as part of that agreement, Dockstader must serve 90 days in the Moffat County Jail’s work-release program, undergo psychological treatment and register as a sex offender. He can petition the court to be removed from the sex offender registry in 10 years. He also can not live with any child except his own.
He was sentenced to serve 60 days for the misdemeanor conviction.
Dockstader’s sentence was reduced by two days for time served before his conviction.
“I can only hope that while you’re in custody, you will resolve, not just be angry, but resolve to never do anything wrong like this again,” O’Hara told Dockstader.
Dockstader was taken into custody immediately after the hearing. O’Hara denied Dockstader’s request that he begin serving time after the Thanksgiving holiday was denied.
“I want your family and your children to know you’ve done something wrong,” O’Hara said. “I want them to know you won’t be home for Thanksgiving.”
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After 10 years in the Yampa Valley, the Colorado Crane Conservation Coalition, which is dedicated to the conservation and protection of greater Sandhill cranes in Colorado, has much to celebrate in addition to its anniversary.