A short time ago, Wes Specht, a former Alameda High School basketball coach and professional player with the Colorado Kings, where he earned the nickname "Wild Man," has just been found guilty of several counts related to sex with a student and possession of suggestive images. Which means the jury didn't buy his explanation about how he and one student were "dating."
Specht, the girls basketball coach at Alameda High, was initially accused of getting nasty with a single student in a variety of locations -- a public park, his house, her parents' place. However, the Lakewood Police Department subsequently revealed that he was suspected of having sex with another student as well, and additional allegations surfaced about him trying to get with a third student. According to the Jefferson County District Attorney's Office, two of the students were members of the basketball team, while a third was a cheerleader -- hence the allegation of sexual assault on a child by a person in a position of trust.
In addition, what are described as "sexually graphic" photos related to the students were found on Specht's cell phone.
The accusations against Specht broke in April 2011 amid a flurry of similar allegations. As we reported in the item linked above, at least six area teachers and coaches were busted on sexually related charges during the previous last year, and Fort Collins instructor Courtney Bowles had been found naked on top of a student in a car a few months earlier.
Still, the Specht case had a number of unique attributes. For one thing, he was a celebrity, albeit on a pretty small time level, thanks to his membership on the Kings, of the American Basketball Association. Here's a clip of his highlights with the squad:
A year ago, much more material pertaining to Specht's play was available online. The Kings' management, which quickly suspended Specht after his arrest, raced to pull down his online profile, but a Google cache revealed a now-inaccessible clip of a young female fan going apeshit after getting his autograph, plus this photo of Specht in uniform, with a big Jesus tattoo on his upper arm:
In court yesterday, the Denver Post reports that Specht denied having or trying to have sex with two of his student accusers, ages fourteen and fifteen respectively. His attorney suggested that they'd been crushing on him and then lied to police about his actions. However, he admitted to getting horizontal with student number three, who was seventeen.
Not that he saw anything wrong with it. He denied that he was an authority figure to her in the conventional sense. "Most of them did not look at me that way. I would goof around with everyone," the Post quotes him as testifying. "They looked at me as a basketball player and one of them."
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In the end, this argument didn't convince the jury. While he was found not guilty of sexual-assault charges related to the fourteen and fifteen year olds, he racked up four other convictions: sexual assault of a child by a person in a position of trust in a pattern of conduct and three sexual-exploitation-of-a-child counts, with one pertaining directly to his possession of more than twenty objectionable images.
Sentencing is scheduled for July 13, and Specht could face a wide range of punishment. The pattern count alone could bring a sentence of between eight and 24 years, with possible expansion to life in prison, while the sexual exploitation convictions could bring up to thirty years in stir.
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Wild Man, indeed. Look below to see a larger version of Specht's mug shot and a 9News report for April 2011:
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More from our Colorado Crimes archive: "Courtney Bowles, teacher who got naked with student, cops a plea: No jail time possible?"