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Copyright 2014 The Commercial Appeal, Inc.
The Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN)

A former Collierville High School softball player fought tears Monday during the sentence hearing for her onetime coach and teacher, who admits giving her alcohol and sexually abusing her.

The victim, who is now in college, spoke briefly in Criminal Court after Albert Marchionda, 40, pleaded guilty to attempted sexual battery by an authority figure. As part of the plea bargain, prosecutors agreed to drop the attempted rape charge.

"My main goal is to make sure this happens to no one else," said the victim, who was 17 at the time of the crime. She did not specifically lobby for him to serve jail time.

"I have been through a lot." She started to cry, telling Judge Paula Skahan, "I'm sorry."

The judge replied, "Don't apologize at all. You didn't do anything wrong. You're very brave for coming down here."

The Commercial Appeal typically does not identify victims of sex crimes.

In a "victim impact" letter, the student wrote that the incident marred her senior year of high school. "My friends and peers turned against me and ridiculed me."

During the hearing, Marchionda apologized, saying, "I feel like I let (victim's name) and her parents down. I did not live up to the trust they placed in me."

The victim, who had been out drinking with friends in 2010, didn't want to return home intoxicated, so she called her coach. She and another teen went to Marchionda's house, where she said he gave her 10 shots of alcohol. The other teen went home, and Marchionda sexually touched the victim, who told him to stop.

Marchionda admitted trying to hide the incident and said he was surprised when he was fired and arrested.

The judge said, "I think it's bizarre he's surprised he was caught. That kind of makes me wonder if he's attempted this before."

"It's amazing she wasn't completely passed out and raped," the judge said.

Skahan agreed to four years of probation and ordered Marchionda to remain on the sex offender registry for life with "strict requirements" - including never teaching or coaching minors again.

Marchionda, who had been at Collierville for about a year and a half before the incident, taught senior English and world history. He said he previously taught at Southwind High School and at a school in New Haven, Mich.

The father of three said his wife of nearly 14 years is divorcing him, he now lives with his parents and works at a car dealership in Southaven.

 

March 26, 2014

 

 
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