A former Grantsville High School football coach apologized to his victims and the community during sentencing Monday afternoon in 3rd District Court.
A subdued Ware, 49, read from a prepared statement during sentencing before Judge Matthew Bates. He called his actions inappropriate and said he will work to be a better husband and father.
“Today, I take full responsibility for my actions,” Ware said.
In a defendant’s statement, Ware admitted to improperly touching a victim under her clothing on one occasion and directing the victims to send semi-nude photos to him.
One of Ware’s victims, and the mother of the other, spoke prior to the sentence being handed down. The victim who spoke said Ware used every opportunity to discredit her allegations against him and she was harassed and bullied by people at Grantsville High School and in the community.
“He took advantage of me when I was most vulnerable,” she said.
The victim said she is still scared to drive by Ware’s house and she was surprised he admitted to the abuse.
Deputy Tooele County Attorney Gary Searle said he hoped the victims would be able to move forward with counseling and therapy, and that he believed Ware took accountability for his actions in the plea deal.
Searle said he was shocked by how quickly some people in the community picked sides regarding Ware’s innocence after the allegations came to light. He said they came after the victims, Grantsville City Police Department and the county attorney’s office.
“As a community, Grantsville did come after people,” Searle said. “… That community should be ashamed.”
Before sentencing Ware, Bates said there is a wealth of studies that recognize youth are impressionable. He highlighted the fact Ware was approximately 30 years older than his victims and in a position of trust as a teacher and football coach.
“What happened in this case was a gross abuse of that position,” Bates said.
Bates said he hoped the members of the community critical of the victims stand corrected and realize Ware admitted his guilt in the plea deal.
Ware was sentenced for misdemeanor unlawful sexual conduct with a 16 or 17-year-old, two misdemeanor counts of dealing in materials harmful to a minor, and, in a separate case, misdemeanor tampering with a witness.
The jail time for each of the charges — one year each — was suspended by Bates, and he was sentenced to 60 months probation and credit for the 499 days served in jail. Ware is required to complete 120 hours of community service in the next year and register as a Group B sex offender.
Bates also required a zero tolerance policy regarding no contact with the victims or their families. He also forbade Ware from speaking about the victims to anyone, either in person or online.
Grantsville City police arrested Ware in September 2016 after they were notified of alleged misconduct involving Ware and a juvenile female student, according to a probable cause statement.
Ware was hired as an assistant football coach at Stansbury High School in September 2009 through December 2010. He was hired as an assistant football coach at GHS on August 2011 and transferred to the same position at SHS in April 2014.
Ware was hired as the GHS football head coach in February 2015 and was hired as a special education, long-term substitute teacher August 2015.