Ex-Softball coach charged with sexually assaulting former player

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Thomas Barnes Galloway (Photo from the Ottawa County Sheriff's Department)

Thomas Barnes Galloway (Photo from the Ottawa County Sheriff’s Department)

GRAND HAVEN, Mich. — A former coach and board member of a West Michigan youth softball program was charged Tuesday with sexually assaulting a former player.

Thomas Barnes Galloway, 44, of Spring Lake Township, was arraigned in 58th District Court on a charge of first-degree criminal sexual conduct.   The charge carries a penalty of up to life in prison.

The alleged assault happened in 2012.  The Ottawa County Sheriff’s Department said Galloway is accused of giving the then 13-year-old victim marijuana, alcohol and possibly other narcotics before sexually assaulting her.

Galloway was a board member and softball coach of the Michigan Sabercats fast pitch softball travel program, which involves girls between the ages of 8 and 18.  The organization posted a statement Monday saying he has resigned.

The sheriff’s department says the incident has been under investigation since March 2, when the now 17-year-old victim told a parent about the assault and the parent contacted police.   Galloway was arrested Monday.

Ottawa County Sheriff’s Department Capt. Mark Bennett said it is common for victims of sexual assault to report an assault years after it happened, especially in cases involving young victims. Bennett said to their knowledge the victim did not tell an adult of the alleged incident until her parent earlier this month, though she told others.

Galloway’s bond was set at $50,000.  He is scheduled to be back in court March 29.

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