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Janesville coach case in Faribault Co. Court

By Staff | Jul 3, 2016

Zach Roberts

A court case involving a former Janesville-Waldorf-Pemberton teacher and coach will be heard in Faribault County Court in Blue Earth on July 18, according to court documents released last Monday.

Faribault County Attorney Troy Timmerman says there is a reason for that.

“The incident that the charges relate to happened in Faribault County, in Wells, and so our office is handling the prosecution of the case,” Timmerman said last week. “We filed the court documents on Monday and they were signed by Judge (Douglas) Richards Monday afternoon.”

Zachary Patrick Roberts, 28, of Janesville, is facing four felony counts of interfering with the privacy against a minor under age 18 and four felony counts of stalking a minor with sexual or aggressive intent.

The charges stem from an incident at United South Central High School in Wells on Dec. 22, 2015.

According to court documents, Roberts was a boys basketball team coach and his Janesville-Waldorf-Pemberton team was playing the USC Rebels in Wells.

Roberts is accused of hiding a miniature video camera in his coaches bag that was aimed at the entrance to the shower room. He recorded his own team members, ages 14 and 15, entering and leaving the shower room.

The camera was discovered when a player borrowed what he thought was a pen from the bag, and discovered it was not a pen, but was actually a small video camera.

Authorities discovered two videos on the camera, one 15 minutes long and the other 13 minutes long. The videos show naked young men going into and out of the shower room. According to the police complaint, Roberts admitted the camera/pen was his. He also admitted he had done this same activity 40 or 50 times.

Roberts resigned from his position with JWP Schools on Jan. 4.

He had been a choir teacher for six years and helped direct musicals at the school, was a student council advisor, in addition to being a coach. He also served as a youth coordinator for St. Ann Catholic Church in Janesville and had worked with the Boy Scouts troop in Janesville.

The maximum penalty for the four counts of interfering with privacy against a minor under 18 is up to two years in prison and up to a $5,000 fine per charge. The maximum penalty for the four counts of stalking a minor with sexual or aggressive intent is up to 10 years in prison, a fine of $20,000 or both, for each charge, if convicted.

Timmerman said most of the investigation was done by Janesville police chief Dave Ulmen. The county attorney also said he felt the charges were appropriate due to the details of the case.

“This does not fit with child pornography charges which require that the images depict children engaged in a sexual act,” Timmerman said. “We also do not expect any additional charges to be brought forth.”

Timmerman added that it took some time to conduct a thorough investigation and examine all of the evidence before proceeding with the case. He said it was a cooperative effort between the Wells and Janesville police departments, JWP Schools and the Faribault County Attorney’s Office.