Sentenced to six years in prison

Photo Credit: SUBMITTED PHOTO - Michael Ray OsborneAfter emotional testimony from the victim's family, a former Madras High School basketball coach and physical education teacher was sentenced in the Jefferson County Circuit Court Aug. 5 for the sexual abuse of a teenage girl.

As part of an agreement, Michael Ray Osborne, 45, pleaded guilty to four counts of second-degree sexual abuse and was sentenced to 43 months in prison. Combined with a 29-month sentence for similar charges in Washington County, Osborne was sentenced to a total of six years in prison.

The charges were a result of an intimate relationship Osborne formed with a 16-year-old player on the basketball team he was coaching in the spring and fall of 2013. The incidents occurred between April 1-Nov. 18, 2013.

Before handing down the sentence, Judge Annette Hillman gave the victim and her family, as well as friends of Osborne, the opportunity to speak.

The victim's father said that he wasn't there to condemn Osborne, because he feels that the outcome of the sentencing will affect his daughter, also.

"I don't know what's in her heart," he said. "If I say, 'Give him the max,' will she be mad at me for the rest of my life?"

The victim's mother, who was sitting with the sobbing victim, left the courtroom, but returned shortly to speak.

Noting that she had raised her daughter by herself, she said that their family life was dysfunctional at times. "He took advantage of her; he took advantage of the circumstances — how vulnerable she was."

"It's just not OK, what he did, no matter how you look at it," she said.

Responding to the victim's father's comments that the victim made a choice, District Attorney Steve Leriche advised those in attendance at the sentencing that a victim under age 18 doesn't have the legal ability to give consent.

"We're talking about a 16-year-old innocent girl and a 40-year-old man," said Leriche. "We ask the court to follow negotiations."

After leaving the courtroom in tears, the victim returned with a written statement, in which she apologized to those she had hurt, but said that she still loves and misses Osborne.

A friend and colleague of Osborne said she had known him for many years, and that he had been a great husband and father to his children, who are 8, 10 and 15. She said that he's not a threat to society, and he is remorseful.

Attorney Valerie Wright, who represented Osborne, said that she had researched similar cases and found sentences of 30 days up to four years.

"That we stipulate to 72 months hurts me deeply," said Wright. "I don't know where the benefit is to anybody."

Speaking for Osborne, who wanted to speak but was too emotional, Wright apologized to the school, team members and parents, as well as the victim and her family, and his own family, "who will just have to carry on without him."

Hillman said that Osborne, who had taught for 22 years, knew that teachers and coaches are held to a higher standard as they mold lives. "It's not your job to violate a child, and for all intents and purposes, (the victim) is a child," said Hillman, before sentencing Osborne to 43 months in prison, consecutive to the Washington County case.

Osborne won't be eligible for a reduction in sentence for the first three years, Leriche said afterwards, but will be eligible for "good time," or a 20 percent reduction in time served for the second three years of his sentence.

"We were in lock-step with Washington County," he said, adding that they negotiated together.

Osborne must register as a sex offender, and as a condition of post-prison supervision, Hillman directed Osborne to not have contact with the victim.

Ten counts of second-degree sexual abuse and one of tampering with a witness were dismissed as part of the plea agreement.

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