Former coach pleads guilty to sex with underage girl

Andy Kravetz

A former girls basketball coach at Peoria High School pleaded guilty Tuesday to having sex with a 15-year-old student.

Andre N. Williams, 35, entered into the plea agreement with Peoria County prosecutors just as he was to go to trial Tuesday morning on charges of two counts of criminal sexual assault and two counts of aggravated criminal sexual assault.

Under the terms of the agreement, Williams pleaded to one count of sexual abuse while the other counts were dismissed. He now faces either probation or up to three years in prison when sentenced on June 13 by Circuit Judge Michael Brandt.

The indictments stated Williams used his position of trust as a coach to gain power over two girls and then to have sex with them.

Assistant State’s Attorney David Gast read a factual basis for the abuse charge that stated Williams had sex with the girl, who was 15 when the relationship started in September 2005. It lasted until December 2006, the prosecutor said in court.

The relationship was consensual, Gast said, and involved sexual activity a few times each month.

Two counts of the dropped counts alleged Williams engaged in sexual activity with another girl, then 15, in 2002.

Gast said both victims were consulted about the plea agreement and were satisfied with the outcome. One of the reasons for the deal, he said, is that one victim was "reluctant" to testify about the matter.

Williams, a 13-year faculty member, was head coach of Peoria High School’s girls basketball team and assistant coach of its girls track team. He also was the physical education teacher at Columbia Middle School.

John Stenson, Williams’ attorney, said his client had resigned from District 150.

Stenson called the agreement fair and noted Williams would have to register as a sex offender. Also, it’s likely he’ll lose his teaching license.

Williams remains free on bond pending his sentencing.

Andy Kravetz can be reached at (309) 686-3283 or