Trial begins for ex-GJHS activities director accused of Internet sex crime
A Texas man who tipped off authorities to sexually explicit Internet chat between a Grand Junction High School administrator and the profile of a 14-year-old girl testified Tuesday during the first day of the trial for Johnnie Walker.
Jason Steitle of San Antonio, Texas, testified he was acting independently when he pretended to be a high school girl named “Heather” from Colorado Springs and waited in an Internet chat room until a person identified as Walker initiated chats. Steitle, an athletic trainer for a school in Texas, said he started the ruse because he wanted to deter men from preying on underage girls.
Steitle said he waited for Walker to initiate conversation and waited for the chatter to become sexual in nature before taking the conversation in that direction. Walker first talked about “wanting to kiss on the lips, stomach, then oral sex, then taking her back to Grand Junction to live with him, to taking her to a cabin in the woods,” he testified.
Steitle said the conversation reached a point “where it became so concerning that I was done with it.”
Walker, 51, is accused of attempted Internet luring of a child and attempted child enticement in the chats that occurred from March 3 to March 27, 2007. Walker was an employee of School District 51 for 17 years and was the activities director for Grand Junction High School when he was arrested on the allegations in April 2007.
Deputy District Attorney David Waite said in opening statements that Walker admitted during a police interview to using a school laptop for the chats. Waite said Walker offered to buy the girl a cell phone so they could talk privately.
Waite disputed Walker’s defense that the defendant thought he was talking to his adult ex-girlfriend, not a 14-year-old girl. Waite said a series of photos of young women and girls were found on Walker’s computer, showing “the defendant’s state of mind wasn’t about talking to an ex-girlfriend.”
“The defendant’s state of mind was talking to young girls,” Waite said.
Walker’s attorney, Colleen Scissors, told the jury they will hear that Walker thought he was chatting with his ex-girlfriend when Walker testifies.
Scissors asked the jury to question how Walker could lure or entice the girl into having sex when there was not a formal meeting planned, and said her client did not know the girl’s address or phone number. Through the chats, Walker gave the girl his name, his job title and phone number, but lied about his age, she said.
“He was painfully honest to the point of being too honest. The only thing he lied about was his age. If you are trying to lure or entice a 14-year-old girl, which all of us know is not legal, you wouldn’t give your real name,” Scissors said.
The trial is scheduled through Friday.