Charge reduced against HHS coach

March 28, 2004|ANN R. HARNEY

HARRODSBURG - The charge against Harrodsburg High School girls' basketball coach Bryan Tolliver has been reduced and sent back to a lower court.

The Mercer County Grand Jury reduced the charge of first-degree sexual abuse to third-degree sexual abuse and remanded it to Mercer District Court to be tried there.

Earlier this month in a hearing in Mercer District Court, the charge of first-degree sexual abuse was referred to the grand jury by district Judge Jeff Dotson. The indictments handed up by the grand jury are usually for felonies and felony cases usually are handled in Mercer Circuit Court.

Misdemeanors, on the other hand, are handled by district court, and while first-degree sexual abuse is a felony, third-degree sexual abuse is a misdemeanor.


First-degree sexual abuse is touching a person in an inappropriate place by "forcible compulsion," state law says. Third-degree sexual abuse is subjecting another person to sexual contact without the other person's consent, the law says.

A case returned to district court by the grand jury is handled as any other district court case is handled, Mercer County Attorney Douglas Greenburg said Friday. Formal arraignment has been scheduled for 9 a.m. May 3.

Greenburg said third-degree sexual abuse is a Class B. misdemeanor with punishments of 90 days in jail and up to a $250 fine, while first-degree sexual abuse is a Class D felony with punishment of one to five years in prison.

In the show cause hearing March 11, the alleged victim said Tolliver had first made inappropriate remarks to her during a time she was babysitting for him. Then, in February 2003, the girl said she had gone for a ride with Tolliver, who often took her home from basketball practice. It was then, she testified, that he placed his hand on her vaginal area and placed her hand on his private area. She was 13 at the time. She no longer is a student in the Harrodsburg school system.

Tolliver has been suspended with pay until the conclusion of the litigation surrounding this case. In addition to coaching, Tolliver teaches health at Harrodsburg Middle School.

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