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Two former Garfield High School athletic coaches accused of sexually assaulting student

caption: Garfield High School on June 5, 2023
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Garfield High School on June 5, 2023
KUOW Photo / Sami West

Editor's note: This story contains graphic descriptions of sexual assault.

Two former coaches from Garfield High School in Seattle have been accused of sexually assaulting a girl who played on the school’s basketball team.

Walter Junior Jones, 46, faces two felony child rape charges in King County Superior Court. He is accused of forcibly raping the girl when she was 13, in 2013, when he was a volunteer weight training coach at the Seattle high school, and she was a middle school student practicing with the high school team.

Jones allegedly sexually assaulted the girl repeatedly for the next two years, and threatened to kill her and her family if she ever reported him, according to court records.

Marvin Wayne Hall, 50, was fired from his job as head coach of the Garfield girls’ basketball team and resigned from his security staff position at the school in 2022 following reports that he had an abusive sexual relationship with the girl beginning in 2017, when she was 17.

A Seattle Public Schools investigation found Hall committed sexual misconduct and boundary violations with students, including telling another girl he had a “crush” on her. That girl reportedly told her father, an assistant coach on the team. Hall has not been charged with a crime.

Tomás Gahan, the personal attorney for the now 24-year-old woman, called the school’s athletic department a “predatory environment,” and said that the woman is only now grappling with the toll it took on her childhood.

“Her middle school and high school experience was defined by serial molestation, or serial rape, by people in authority at her school,” Gahan said.

“It happened when the team would travel and in hotel rooms. It happened in the coach's offices at the school,” Gahan said.

According to a police report, Walter Jones was allowed to volunteer as a weight training coach at Garfield in 2013 even though the district had banned him from employment or volunteering in schools after he was forced to resign from Ballard High School.

According to the police report, the girl “stated Jones would stretch her out and give her a weird look but that she was naive and trusting at age 13.”

Jones allegedly brought the girl to his house after promising to “train her” when her usual coach was unavailable, and then forcibly raped her. The next time it happened, the police report said, Jones gave the girl a tablet to watch a comedy show while he raped her, then dropped her off at Garfield. Each time Jones allegedly made the girl shower or use mouthwash to remove evidence of the assaults.

The rapes allegedly continued until she was 15, when “she believed she was too mature for Jones’ liking,” the police report said.

The Garfield athletic director at the time, Ed Haskins, “wasn’t certain, but thought he recalled an issue coming up regarding Jones’ background check which prevented him from being vetted as a volunteer,” according to the police report.

Still, Haskins told police that Jones was brought in to work with students independently. Jones was “not supposed to have access” to Garfield athletic facilities but “Jones used their facilities anyways,” the police report said.

Neither Seattle Public Schools nor Haskins responded to requests for comment.

Two years later, when the girl was 17, she met Marvin Hall, then 43, she testified in court records. At the time, he coached the boys’ basketball team at Garfield. She alleges Hall started a sexual relationship with her that continued the following year, when he became assistant coach of the girls’ basketball team, and she played on the team. At the time, she thought of him as her boyfriend, the woman told the court last year.

Two months after Hall was fired from his coaching job, the woman wrote an email to district administrators saying that "there has never been any type of inappropriate relationship between Mr. Hall and myself."

In its investigation report, the district found that the young woman's "denials of a relationship lack credibility." The report cites the many people the woman told of the abuse, and the photographic and text evidence she had showed people of their relationship dating back to when she was in high school.

Last year, the woman testified in court that Hall had "begged me not to talk. Promised to buy me a car. Promised to leave his wife. Promised to make us a reality."

Hall, who was married at the time of the alleged abuse, filed a restraining order against her in 2023 after she allegedly sent evidence of their relationship to his family.

“Mr. Hall was aware that another high school coach had previously raped me, and would tell me that nobody would believe me if I ever reported him,” the woman testified in that case. A judge denied the restraining order and found that Hall “engaged in a relationship with the respondent, whom he met while she was still in high school and who is 25+ years his junior.”

Whether or not that relationship began when she was a student at Garfield, the judge wrote, “The court cannot prohibit her from speaking about her relationship with the petitioner simply because the repercussions of her doing so may be damaging to him.”

Neither Hall nor Jones responded to requests for comment. Jones’s attorney, William Prestia, responded by email, writing only that “Mr. Jones is not guilty of any of the charges against him.”

Jones’ court records include restraining orders filed by four different women, including three for domestic violence, between 2004 and 2018.

Jones is on electronic home monitoring on a $50,000 bond awaiting trial for one charge of second-degree child rape, for allegedly raping the girl when she was 13, and one charge of third-degree child rape, for allegedly raping her when she was 14 and 15.

The evidence submitted by prosecutors reportedly includes “voluminous” phone records between Hall and the accuser, including texts that refer to her experiences with Jones.

Jones’ trial is scheduled to begin May 8.

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