Ex-swim Coach Pleads Guilty To Sex With Girl Joseph Weber Could Face Up To 25 Years In Prison. Germantown Academy Fired Him In February.

Posted: August 15, 1995

NORRISTOWN — The former swimming coach trembled and sobbed as he admitted to having an affair with his 14-year-old protegee.

Perhaps, authorities say, he loved the young girl and wanted to help her achieve her dream: to swim for the Germantown Academy swim team.

But he went too far, prosecutors say: He broke the law.

Joseph Weber's shaved head was lowered, his voice barely audible, as he pleaded guilty in Montgomery County Court yesterday to charges of involuntary deviant sexual intercourse and corruption of a minor. The former Germantown Academy swim coach could face up to 25 years in prison for engaging in oral sex with the girl.

Before setting a sentencing date, Judge Samuel W. Salus 2d ordered Weber, 28, to undergo a psychiatric evaluation.

"He felt it was a relationship," Weber's attorney, Richard D. Winters, said yesterday after the plea was entered.

The crying Weber was a strikingly different person from the confident coach portrayed in court documents as wooing the young swimmer.

In June 1994, Weber and the girl met at the Lansdale Swim Club. According to police reports, Weber began calling the girl, first to encourage her to enroll in the Germantown Academy Aquatics Club, then to arrange times for swim practice. Soon, according to authorities, the conversations turned lurid. Later, the sexual relations began.

According to the reports, the girl told police that she often hesitantly complied with his requests for intercourse; most often, she said, they had oral sex. (In Pennsylvania, the age of consent for sexual intercourse is 14; for oral sex, it is 16.)

At one point, Weber gave the girl a ring. Throughout the affair, Weber told the girl not to tell anyone about their relationship, authorities said.

In February, Weber was arrested after a nurse at North Penn Hospital reported the affair. Winters said the girl had told her cousin about Weber.

By law, Winters said, the nurse was required to report the affair.

In an interview with police after Weber's arrest, the girl said she felt used by her former coach. But she said, "I still have a lot of respect for him. I still care about him as a swim coach."

Yesterday, Weber, who was fired from the school in February, told Judge Salus that he was a patient at the Horsham Clinic and had been diagnosed with borderline personality disorder.

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