GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. -- A former Rockford Schools' rowing coach was sentenced Wednesday to 22 years in federal prison then five years' supervised released. He confessed to secretly filming underage girls undressing, as well as having child pornography.
Timothy Vallier, 30, pleaded guilty last fall to two felonies, including recording high school athletes in locker rooms.
Judge Gordon Quist with the U.S. District Court in the Western District of Michigan considered many aspects of the case leading up to sentencing Wednesday including: Vallier's confession; his cooperation and lack of a previous criminal record; and the facts that while Vallier did not distribute the 86 secret tapes he made, there are 62 victims, according to court documents.
Vallier was a head rowing coach in Rockford until his arrest last July. From 2012 until last year, Vallier secretly filmed girls undressing in the changing room at the Rockford High School rowing team's boathouse and inside the Rockford Freshman Center.
Wednesday in federal court, five victims addressed Judge Quist: two teens, a 21-year-old woman, and two mothers speaking on behalf of their daughters. Some of the girls made it clear that while Vallier robbed their trust, they will not be labeled as victims.
As many seated in the packed courtroom dried their tears, one teen said in part, "I forgive Tim. I am not a number. I am not a video. I am a daughter."
Judge Quist and the federal prosecutor said several times how strong the girls were, and were impressed with several already stating their forgiveness. The prosecutor noted that their forgiveness should not impact sentencing guidelines, however.
Vallier himself also addressed the court. He said in part, "I am ashamed of my actions," and this is his "deepest regret," going from their rowing coach to becoming a source of their fear.
Rockford Schools Superintendent Dr. Mike Schibler tells FOX 17 their community is deeply impacted by this case. They have also made safety improvements because of this, for example: their locker rooms are now electronically monitored he said, and they document who goes into the locker rooms and when.
"It was 62 girls, their families, their friends, their community of Rockford," said Dr. Schibler. "This is an issue we’ve dealt with the last 11 months. Quite frankly it’s had an impact on the entire community. That needs to be said and I believe the prosecutor was trying to get that point across, and I don’t have any sympathy for the perpetrator."
"Our student athletes, our young ladies, I thought in this case today they were very brave and heroic in their position and their statements. I’m very proud of them. I’m glad this situation, as far as I’m concerned, has been resolved and it’s over," he said.