LISA CORNWELL,Associated Press
CINCINNATI (AP) — Former Bengals linebacker Nate Webster was sentenced Wednesday in Ohio to 12 years in prison for having sex with the underage teen daughter of a former assistant coach for the Cincinnati team.
Webster, 34, was sentenced Wednesday In Hamilton County Common Pleas Court in Cincinnati. A jury convicted him in April on four counts of unlawful sexual conduct with a minor, and he could have been sentenced to up to 20 years.
Jurors in April found Webster not guilty of three other charges: gross sexual imposition, sexual battery and a fifth count of unlawful sexual conduct with a minor.
Prosecutors said Webster had sex with the girl in 2009 when she was 15 and threatened to harm her if she told anyone. Webster admitted having sex with the teen the next year, when she was 16 — the legal age of consent in Ohio.
Webster’s attorney, Gregory Samms, said in a telephone interview after court that his client will appeal the verdict and the sentence, both of which Samms said were “excessive.”
“He was overcharged for what actually took place, which was a consensual agreement between two people,” Samms said. “It was a consensual act and everything else was a fabrication.”
The prosecutor’s office stands by the charges and believes the sentence was appropriate, prosecutor’s spokeswoman Julie Wilson said.
Samms has said that the girl lied when she said she was 15 when she and Webster began having sex. Prosecutors said Webster told police that he had sex with the girl when she was 15 and played tapes of those interviews in court, but Samms said Webster was mistaken about the dates in his earlier statements.
Prosecutors said Webster rejected a proposed plea deal prior to the trial that would have sent him to prison for four years. Samms said that would have required Webster to plead guilty to crimes he didn’t commit.
Webster played for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers from 2000-03 and for the Bengals in 2004-05. He finished his career with the Denver Broncos from 2006-08.
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.