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Excerpts from press conference with Utah coach cleared of sexually abusing teen

Published March 27, 2014 8:26 am
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2014, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

The following are excerpts from Steve Dale Green's press conference Wednesday evening at his attorney's office.

Charges against the Bountiful man — that he had been having sex with a teenager he coached in soccer — were dropped Tuesday due to insufficient evidence. At the press conference, Green described his reaction to the dismissal and his problems with both his accuser's story and the system that could have landed him in prison.

Not every question the reporters asked, and Green's answer to those questions, is listed below.

Q • So you're arrested, you think about the things you've done in your life, all the parking tickets, speeding tickets — so what are you saying to yourself? And then tell me what it's like when they read the charges to you.

Green • Well, they didn't read the charges to me.

Q • Well when you found out.

Green • When we were driving — well first of all, they put me, this is kind of interesting detail in the case, but they put me in the front of the squad car. I remember this very plainly. I asked the arresting officer you sure you don't want me in back, and he said in his exact words, "You're a big boy, you'll never fit in the back." So they put me in the front of the car. On his little sticky note by his gear selector was a note that said lewdness and it had what appeared to be some code next to it, indicating where it was in the statutes. And so instantly your mind is racing you know, I couldn't think of anything. There's a statement in Chevy Chase's "Christmas Vacation" when he says, you know, Cousin Eddie drives up in the RV and he says Clark are you surprised, and he says "Cousin Eddie, if I had my woke up in the morning with my face sewn to the carpet, I wouldn't be more surprised than I am now." And that kind of explains it. I had no idea what was going on.

Q • Was there ever a time, you know that sort of quiet moment, when you're just there with your wife and she just says, did you do it? I mean, was there ever any doubt in her mind? Did she ever ask you that question?

Green • At the very beginning. And when I told her who I suspected the accuser was, that switched off. In the last couple of months, especially since just before Christmas when I initially thought that we were going to get the dismissal, it didn't happen, about that time — and that time on — it was not so much you know, "Did you do this?" but "Are they going to put you away regardless?" It seemed like there was an honest intent to get a conviction come hell or high water. The reason I say that is we had presented quite a mountain of exculpatory evidence, dates that she had quoted that were, I wasn't even in the state. Some of the statements that she made in that preliminary hearing were so outrageous that I couldn't believe people were taking them seriously.

We talked about the squad car and being in the front seat of the car, she actually claimed that the first incident was in the backseat of my car, which is interesting because it was a BMW 3 series so it was much smaller than the squad car that they wouldn't put me in the back of. You know, and she made claim that this occurred up at the [large B above Bountiful] during January, and so you know you just have to put two and two together. Did I four-wheel drive my BMW in two feet of snow, up to the B in Bountiful, in a car I don't even fit in the backseat, to have something like this happen?

The case was littered with things like that. And yet, it didn't seem like anybody was standing up and saying this doesn't make sense. And it just seemed like, you know I passed the polygraph test, we had countless witnesses that she claimed had knowledge of this. We ended up hiring my own investigator to go talk to those witnesses. The witnesses contradicted everything that she had said to them. We turned those over to the state. At that time, they deployed their investigator to verify that our investigator did their work properly, and they knew that those witnesses were contradicting her statements. But yet it kept going on and on and on and on. I even went down and volunteered, went to the crime lab, disrobed and let them take pictures of anatomy. You know, she made some claims about some anomalies that were supposedly there that were not there, however was unable to claim some of the anomalies that are there. She was way off. And yet it dragged on and dragged on, and four, five, six PTCs — pre-trial conferences — it just seemed like hell or high water, there was going to be a conviction. So rather than "Honey, did you do this?" it was more of a "Honey, when they put you away, how are we going to survive?"

Q • Your legal defense has to be, I don't know, how expensive it is. You've lost your job. How are you guys doing?

Green • Luckily, we're certainly not well off, but we make a decent living. And we were fortunate enough to have some savings to put away to help us with that. We also had friends and family contribute. One thing that became perfectly clear, to kind of go back to the justice system, if I was not in a position to pay bail, to pay for my own polygraph test, to hire my own private investigator, to get legal counsel, I would have ended up never getting out of that jail, the police never would have followed up on the investigation, the leads that our investigator gave them, I would have been with an overworked, over-stressed, underpaid public defender, and I can almost guarantee that at this point I would be in prison. That's really the thing that I wanted to get out there is I can almost guarantee there are dozens and dozens of people sitting right now, down in penitentiary because they simply didn't have the resources to defend themselves. That's really the main reason I wanted to talk to you guys.

Q • How did you feel when the charges were dismissed?

Green • That's a good question, I don't know yet. When they told me the charges were being dismissed — at that point I thought it was going to be much more of an elated feeling, and it's been quite the contrary. I feel like we've all been coiled up for so long that we're just tired. You know, they said dismissed and you know I thought I'd be happy but part of me was angry, part of me wanted to cry, part of me wanted to throw up. It still doesn't feel real. So I don't really know how to answer that.

We've had several of my kids' friends [who] can no longer come over to the house. Several of our neighbors, not immediate neighbors, but several of our neighbors refused to speak to us anymore or have anything to do with us. On the flip side of that, there has been a core group of people, probably 15 to 20 percent of the people that I did consider friends at the beginning, that have been absolutely outstanding. They've been there, they've helped raise money, they've helped watch the kids, they've helped support. You know I've looked at some of my very close neighbors and they've got daughters the same age as this girl making the accusations, and I can't say that if it were them that were accused, that I would have been as generous or as helpful as they were to me. So there have been some very, very good people to help counterbalance a little of other stuff.

Q • You said you were just trying to help this girl, did you think that experiences like yours will make you or other people question whether or not they're going to reach out to troubled teens?

Green • Absolutely. I apologize earlier for being a bit bitter. I will never — do we dare say never? — coach again. I will never tutor again. I will never help a child again. You know and we obeyed all the rules, we're never alone, we had two people at least, we did everything you're supposed to do and this still happened. It's to the point where honestly, at what point would you just drive past a kid walking bare feet in the snow uphill home and not give them a ride? And unfortunately that's the kind of environment that we produced.

Q • What else would you like to share with us?

Green • I would like, I know that the Utah legislators have talked a lot about the laws around this particular type of a crime. I'd like to see a little bit better protection of people that are being accused of this until there's more substantiated evidence involved. For instance, if I had my daughter with me today, and we went home, and she said that "Dad, the gentleman from KUTV touched me inappropriately." Within a matter of days, without any real due diligence going down other than speaking to my daughter and interviewing me and what she told me, he'd be in jail. And his face would be online. Then he's faced with the professional dilemma, do you keep him, do you not? He's faced with, do I have to fork out $50,000, $100,000, is my boss going to be understanding? At what point do we say you have to have a little bit better substantiated evidence than hearsay and somebody's story before we plaster someone's face all over the news? Something there has to change.

Q • How do you think you find that balance between the victims where it's hard enough to come forward … but also having the understanding for someone like yourself? How do you find that balance?

Green • If the Bountiful Police Department had done, had they spoken with my wife, had they even talked to me, had they talked to any of our neighbors, had they spoken to the people that this accuser actually referenced in her story — this person knows about it, this person knows about it — had they even spoken to them, it never would have gotten to the point where an arrest was made. They need to do a better job.

In her allegations, she talked about this was happening nearly every day. That she was [skipping] her last period of class, running up to the house. We happened to get a hold of her attendance records, and the attendance records show that she did not have an attendance problem. So then the comment was made well then maybe he just picked me up after school, and we went up there — but if you look at, I just went on Google Maps and tracked the time to get from one school to the other, and what my other obligations were during the day, it would have left a 3 to 8 minute window to have these acts occur in my home. And you know, some of the acts included things, she mentioned like in the jacuzzi tub and other things, how is that even possible? She mentions specifically performing the acts to completion over 10 times within a two-hour period. I'm a 40-year-old man. Even when I was 20, I mean all bar-room bragging aside, uh-uh. That's just physiologically impossible. And yet nobody raised their hand and said wait a minute, this doesn't make sense. It's insane to me that it got as far as it went.

Q • So did you, before all this happened, did you think cops do their job, prosecutors do their job?

Green • Absolutely. If somebody would have come to me before this happened to me and said hey, Jim got arrested for such and such, I would have been the first ones to say well you don't just arrest somebody for nothing. There's gotta be something there. I would have been one of the first people that I don't like anymore, and said that. After going through it, I have a hard time believing anything I hear anymore. It's amazing how much of my opinion of that has changed.

I'm sorry if I sound bitter, guys. It's only been a couple days, my emotions are still, I don't know whether to be happy or upset at this point.

— Michael McFall

Twitter: @mikeypanda






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