Gibson rejects plea offer in BG sex battery case; trial set for January

By Marie Thomas-Baird, [email protected]

Zachary Gibson speaks to defense attorney Sara Roller Friday in court.

J.D. Pooley | Sentinel-Tribune

A Bowling Green man accused of misconduct with a high school student has rejected a plea deal.

Zachary Gibson appeared for a final pretrial Friday in the courtroom of Wood County Common Pleas Judge Joel Kuhlman.

Gibson, 30, was indicted in June for two counts of sexual battery, both third-degree felonies; two counts of illegal use of minor or impaired person in nudity-oriented material or performance, both fifth-degree felonies; and attempted illegal use of minor or impaired person in nudity-oriented material or performance, also a fifth-degree felony.

At the time of the accusations, Gibson was a strength and conditioning coach who worked at Bowling Green High School, and was employed by Fastrak Performance.

Wood County Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Dexter Phillips said his office in October offered Gibson a deal to drop most of the charges. If Gibson pleaded guilty to one sexual battery charge, the remaining charges would be dismissed at sentencing, he said.

“At this time, the state has received no response from the defense,” Phillips said.

He added the state is willing to continue to negotiate but again has received no response.

On Friday, defense attorney Sara Roller rejected that offer on behalf of Gibson and said they were not in a position to counteroffer.

They were ready to go to trial, she said.

A trial date has been set for Jan. 23-25.

According to the indictment, Gibson allegedly engaged in sexual conduct with the same 16-year-old while he was a coach “or otherwise in a position of temporary or occasional disciplinary control over the boy.”

The offenses reportedly occurred on or about March 1-April 30 while Gibson worked with the baseball and basketball teams at BGHS.

Eight minors have been subpoenaed for the trial, according to court documents.

Gibson was never employed directly by the school district. He was let go on April 4 by Fastrak Performance after the company was notified of unspecified allegations.

Gibson, who was found guilty 12 years ago of a misdemeanor sex offense, was an independent contractor hired to fill the BGHS position.

Theft charges that were filed against Gibson in August have been dismissed.