Former Duluth youth basketball coach pleads guilty to child sex abuse
A former Salvation Army youth basketball coach will see his prison stay extended, after pleading guilty Monday in a second child sexual abuse case.
Wendell Anthony Greene, who is already serving an 18-year prison term after a jury found him guilty of sexually assaulting two pre-teen girls, entered a guilty plea to a separate count of first-degree criminal sexual conduct Monday in State District Court in Duluth.
Under the terms of a plea agreement, Greene is expected to be sentenced to a prison term of 25½ years, to be served concurrently with the previously imposed sentence. Judge Mark Munger accepted the plea and scheduled sentencing for Sept. 15.
Greene, 38, of Duluth, admitted under oath at Monday’s plea hearing that he engaged in sexual intercourse with the 14-year-old girl that he coached in the “Race for Center Court” program. Under questioning from prosecutor Rebekka Stumme, Greene acknowledged that he was in a position of authority over the girl, whom he had coached for about four years.
The victim was allowed to testify at Greene’s September trial on his other charges. The girl testified that Greene initiated sexual intercourse in her house when she was 14 and while she was changing into her basketball clothes. She said that developed into a relationship and that they had sex several times after that over a prolonged period in 2010.
On Monday, Greene told defense attorney Thomas Skare that the testimony factored into his decision to enter into a plea agreement. If the case proceeded to trial, the victims from the other case also would have been able to testify.
“Because of the witness testimony at your prior trial, you felt that you could be convicted based on that testimony alone?” Skare asked.
“That is correct,” Greene replied.
Greene, a former U.S. Marine and former member of the 148th Fighter Wing of the Minnesota Air National Guard, is serving his prison term at the Minnesota Correctional Facility in Rush City, according to online records.
A St. Louis County jury found him guilty in September of one count of first-degree criminal sexual conduct, and two counts of second-degree criminal sexual conduct. He was acquitted of an additional second-degree charge.
The charges in that trial are related to the sexual assault of two sisters, ages 8 and 10 at the time, in the summer of 2012. Both of the girls testified at the trial, as did their mother, who said Greene forged a close relationship with the children, both as a coach and later as a personal case assistant in their home.
Following the jury’s verdict, Munger, in November, sentenced Greene to 18 years in prison.
Greene still has an appeal pending in that case. The extended prison time agreed to Monday is subject to any future ruling of the Minnesota Court of Appeals.