GRAND HAVEN, Mich. — The preliminary hearing is underway in Ottawa County for a former softball coach accused of sexually assaulting a teen girl who he coached.
Tuesday we heard about 90 minutes of testimony directly from the victim, a girl who is now 17-years-old. She described two alleged sexual encounters she had with Thomas Galloway, 44.
Due to testimony, Galloway is now charged with four counts of Criminal Sexual Conduct, 1st degree. Galloway was arrested last month for the incidents which allegedly took place in June of 2012 and September 2014 after the victim disclosed the events to her parents March 1, 2016. The girl was 13 then 15-years-old, when Galloway was her softball coach then employer at the respective times of sexual misconduct.
Galloway was a former board member and softball coach of the West Michigan Sabercats fast-pitch softball travel program. He is no longer affiliated with the organization due to these allegations.
After Tuesday's hearing, Judge Craig Bunce ordered the case to trial. The victim testified that she "trusted" Galloway who was in her life since she was 8-years-old as a close friend of her father's. She said Galloway was "like a dad figure," "a very good coach," and "a big figure" in her life. About a year before the first incident, she said her family and the Galloways had become "very close" going to dinners, then sometimes she would go to lunch alone with Galloway or on "drives."
She testified about two sexual encounters she allegedly had with Galloway. The first occurred during the summer of 2012 when he texted her around noon and asked her if she "wanted to go for a ride." She said "yes" and he picked her up.
She testified Galloway was drinking beer while driving and offered her alcohol and a painkiller, which she accepted. She said when they pulled into Galloway's driveway the two smoked marijuana. Then inside his garage in his truck, she said Galloway pulled out an adult sex toy, then asked for oral sex and she complied. She said then they had sex, and that Galloway "did not use force," but she felt "cloudy, nervous, confused," and told the prosecutor she also felt "scared."
After describing this the prosecutor asked if she felt scared, to which the victim said, "yes," but said she did not think Galloway would hurt her because she said:
"I trusted him [Galloway]. I didn’t really realize what had gone on, I had trusted him. He was a very big figure in my life, so I thought it was okay I guess.”
A second instance allegedly happened in September 2014 when the victim testified Galloway was her employer and she was cleaning inside a home that Galloway was building. He again asked for oral sex and they went into a closet and she complied.
Galloway's attorney cross-examined the victim stating that she had free will and could say no, to which the victim said she could have said no to someone else but with Galloway she felt it somehow "okay" because she trusted him.
Stay with FOX 17 for future developments as this case moves toward trial. If convicted, Galloway faces up to life in prison.