Sexual assault victim's mom sues fake HS student

August 17, 2011 2:57:31 AM PDT
A former Haitian star athlete sent to prison for three years in Texas for charges including sexual assault while posing as a teenager to play high school basketball is being sued by the mother of his sexual assault victim.

Guerdwich Montimere, 23, pleaded guilty last month to two counts of sexual assault and three counts of tampering with government records.

Attorney Adrian Chavez said Tuesday the woman filed suit on behalf of her daughter to keep Montimere from gaining any financial benefit from selling the story about presenting himself as ninth-grader Jerry Joseph. Montimere was 21 when he began his one season at Odessa Permian High School.

"There had been reports that he was trying to market profit from his story somehow," Chavez told the Odessa American ( ). "We'd heard that he was telling people he could get rich and things like that. If he doesn't try to sell his story, then we don't get any money."

He said the state lawsuit is specifically to keep him from profiting from the sexual assault.

Both Chavez and Ector County District Attorney Bobby Bland said neither the woman nor her daughter is motivated by greed.

"I can tell you the victim here was very forthcoming and cooperative," Bland said. "I think this is an attempt to prevent someone from profiting from their wrongdoing."

Montimere pleaded guilty last month under a plea agreement days before he was to go on trial. Besides prison time, he must register as a sex offender.

Officials said the naturalized U.S. citizen from Haiti had graduated from high school in Florida, where he also played basketball, years before he moved to Odessa and presented himself as a high school freshman at the Permian, the same rabidly competitive school that inspired the book and movie "Friday Night Lights" about high school football. Montimere helped lead the Panthers to the 2010 state playoffs, but the team had to forfeit after his story unraveled.

Montimere was indicted last year on six felony charges and he had faced up to 20 years in prison if convicted. The indictment accused him of identity theft. The sexual assault counts accused him of having sex with a 15-year-old girl.

Suspicions were raised about Joseph after coaches from Florida at a post-season amateur basketball tournament in Arkansas said they recognized him as Montimere, a 2007 graduate of a Fort Lauderdale, Fla., high school.

Montimere was named the District 2-5A Newcomer of the Year, an honor that was stripped when his deception was exposed. The Panthers also forfeited their 16 wins.

After the Arkansas tournament, Permian officials had begun receiving anonymous phone calls and emails saying Joseph was really Montimere. Odessa school officials looked into the situation, and Joseph was initially cleared by immigraetion authorities and allowed to return to the school.

But the investigation continued, and officials eventually confirmed Montimere's identity. School officials said Montimere confessed after he was confronted with the new evidence.

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