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Colfax ex-snowboard coach reaches plea deal on child sex charges

Belden ‘Jack’ Morgan, 71, will serve 14 years, plea deal says
By: Jon Schultz, Journal Staff Writer
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The former Colfax High School snowboard coach who faced seven felony child sex abuse charges pertaining to three victims signed a plea agreement that will likely incarcerate him for the majority of his remaining days.

The trial for Belden “Jack” Morgan, 71, scheduled to start this week has been canceled and the Auburn resident is to be sentenced May 1 in Dept. 44 of the Placer County Superior Court.

Morgan will be sentenced for 14 years and will be eligible for parole when he is 83, according to the plea deal terms. Morgan, who last taught at Colfax High School in 2004 and retired from coaching there in March 2011, will be a lifetime registered sex offender.

“Because of the nature of the charge the defendant must serve 85 percent of his sentence before he is eligible for parole,” Placer County Assistant District Attorney Jeffrey Wilson said in a statement. “The plea agreement reflects the wishes of the victims as well as the age the defendant.”

Morgan entered a not guilty plea on all seven counts of committing a lewd act upon a child in June 2012, but the agreement has him entering no contest pleas on four of the charges related to three victims younger than 14 from December 1994 to March 1998.

Morgan’s plea does not address two additional counts for one victim and one additional count for another victim.

Placer County Superior Court Judge Alan Pineschi accepted the plea on March 1. The trial had been slated to begin on Tuesday.

A stipulation of the plea is that the judge’s acceptance of it is not binding, and that before sentencing the judge can withdraw approval and Morgan would be allowed to withdraw his plea.

Morgan’s attorney, Napa-based Steven Flinn, declined to comment on the plea deal.

Placer County Sheriff’s deputies arrested Morgan on Feb. 9, 2012 at his Christian Valley home, and he was booked into Placer County Jail where he remains on $1 million bail.

Investigators acting on a search warrant filed two days after his arrest seized computers, photographs, VHS tapes, several video and digital cameras, memory cards and other data storage devices from his home.

It is not known whether any evidence related to the charges had been produced by the search warrant. Morgan had been a computer science teacher at Colfax High School from 1998-2004.

Transcripts of two recorded phone conversations between Morgan and an alleged victim, as well as statements from victims and family members describing the alleged abuse had been filed in the search warrant and affidavit.

After his retirement, Morgan remained active as Central II District Coordinator for the California Nevada Interscholastic Ski and Snowboard Federation.

 

Jon Schultz can be reached at jons@goldcountrymedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @Jon_AJNews