Former Colorado swim coach Walter James Winkler, age 48, pleaded guilty to sexual abuse of a minor. According to a press release announced this week by U.S. Attorney for Colorado Jason Dunn, in conjunction with FBI Denver Special Agent in Charge Dean Phillips, he pleaded guilty to having inappropriate sexual relationships with 2 minors while coaching at Fort Carson in the 1990s.
“Sexual abuse of a minor by a person in a position of trust is a horrific crime that we will pursue aggressively every time,” said U.S. Attorney Jason Dunn.
From the press release:
“According to the plea agreement, Winkler first started by making sexual comments to a 12 year old minor and getting “touchy feely” when he started coaching her. Then one day he asked the girl to stay late after practice. Winkler then sexually assaulted her. There were additional alleged incidents of sexual assault from approximately 1994 through 1998. He also had sex with another girl at the Fort Carson pool during this same time period. The U.S. Center for SafeSport suspended Winkler from coaching on February 21, 2018. He resigned as a high school swimming coach in Cheyenne shortly thereafter.”
According to Dunn, USA Swimming received an anonymous online tip on November 10th, 2017, that was forwarded on to the US Center for SafeSport in Colorado Springs.
Winkler is still listed with the status “Interim Measure – Suspension” in the US Center for Safe Sport database. This is a status often given while criminal proceedings are ongoing, and with the guilty plea, Safe Sport regulations indicate that the status should soon be updated to permanent ineligibility.
He will be sentenced by Chief Judge Brimmer on September 27, 2019.
It is possible there were more victims, perhaps in Colorado or Wyoming. If anyone has information about inappropriate sexual contact by Winkler during his coaching career please call the FBI at 303-629-7171..