Conviction of former Napoleon coach upheld


The Ohio Third District Court of Appeals Monday upheld the conviction of a former Napoleon High School
teacher and coach who was found guilty last year of illegally touching girls on his track team.
Last year, a jury found Randy Burke, 57, of Hamler, guilty on one count of gross sexual imposition, a
fourth-degree felony, and two counts of sexual imposition, third-degree misdemeanors.
He was sentenced to five years of community control and 180 days incarceration at the Corrections Center
of Northwest Ohio and was ordered to register as a Tier I sex offender.
Burke appealed, saying the state did not offer sufficient evidence to prove that he used force during one
incident, and that the state did not prove that he touched an erogenous zone of another victim.
"After weighing the evidence and evaluating the credibility of the witnesses … we cannot conclude
that the jury clearly lost its way and created such manifest miscarriage of justice that Burke’s gross
sexual imposition and sexual imposition convictions be reversed," the court stated in its opinion.

Henry County Prosecutor Gwen Howe-Gebers, who argued the case for the state, said she was pleased with
the appellate decision.
"The young ladies who testified were brave to come forward, knowing the repercussions that they
would subject themselves to," Howe-Gebers said. "Doing the right thing is not always an easy
decision, especially when it involves a person of authority."

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