SCHOOL CLOSINGS AND DELAYS

Ex-Rockford coach in federal court on child porn charges

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GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — The fired Rockford Public Schools' rowing coach appeared in federal court Tuesday following accusations of possessing and attempting to make child pornography.

Timothy Vallier, 30, appeared with his newly hired defense attorney, who waived Vallier's preliminary and detention hearings in Judge Ellen Carmody's courtroom packed with Rockford Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Mike Shibler, parents and students.

As of last week, Vallier now faces federal charges, and if convicted, could spend 15 to 30 years in federal prison for each count of attempting to produce child porn, then up to 20 years for having it.

On July 8, two recent Rockford High School graduates found a video camera in the rowing team's SUV after getting the keys from Vallier, who was head coach at the time.   The camera contained secretly recorded videos of girls changing through two small holes drilled into the changing room at the crews' boathouse on Jupiter Avenue, according to court documents.  The recent graduates contacted Dr. Shibler, who then contacted police.

Vallier also admitted to police he set up that secret camera in the boathouse changing room four to five times a season. Then police also found about 100 videos of girls changing in the Rockford freshman building's locker room, time stamped from January 2012 through this July.

Court documents also state that police found files labeled with at least 15 girls' first names, then another file, "to be sorted."

Dr. Shibler sent out this letter to Rockford families Tuesday following Vallier's court appearance:

"As shared with you previously, the case against former boys’ crew coach Timothy Vallier has been taken up by federal prosecutors. Today, I, along with Assistant Superintendent Dr. Doug VanderJagt, Director of Security Scott Beckman, and Director of Athletics Tim Erickson, attended a preliminary hearing and detention hearing. Mr. Vallier waived both hearings therefore is held without bond until his next hearing on August 25.

School officials continue to assist with identification of the victims and, as shared previously, all identified victims will be notified directly by the U.S. Attorney’s office. We ask for your patience as law enforcement continues their investigation. Thank you.

Dr. Michael Shibler, Superintendent of Schools

Tuesday, FOX 17 also spoke with Northview head rowing coach Rick Anderson, who also uses the boathouse on Jupiter Ave. to coach and would sometimes coach alongside Vallier. He showed FOX 17 the boathouse changing room which is now boarded up, calling this entire situation disturbing.

“I was livid for a lot of reasons," said Anderson. "One is because the kids they come down, they expect to be able to trust their coaches. We have that type of relationship and that was grossly violated, and that taints everybody.”

Anderson, like Dr. Shibler, reiterates the importance of any student reporting any inappropriate behavior of an adult to school officials immediately.

Vallier will next appear in federal court Aug. 25 at 10 a.m. for a status conference and his arraignment. He remains in custody.

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