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By Kelly Nix, Special to VeloNews.com
Jonathan Boyer, the first American to participate in the Tour de France, appeared in a Salinas, California, courtroom Thursday and entered guilty pleas to 10 felony counts of child molestation.
During a scheduled arraignment, the 46-year-old Boyer pleaded guilty to seven counts of lewd acts with a child and three counts of penetration by foreign object in a case involving a single unnamed girl.
Seaside police arrested Boyer on May 16 after the now-16-year-old girl told them Boyer had sexually molested her beginning when she was 11. At the time, Boyer posted $300,000 cash bail and was released. By pleading guilty Thursday, Boyer conceded that he had molested the girl over a three year period between September of 1997 and September 2000.
“He admits that he did engage in sexual conduct…” said Boyer’s attorney Tom Worthington. “He’s very remorseful for what occurred.”
The cyclist was dressed in black jeans and a salmon-colored, long-sleeve shirt and said only “guilty” after the charges were read to him.
“The judge has indicated that in his mind it looks like a probation case unless something transpires or comes up that changes his mind,” said Monterey County Deputy District Attorney Tim Roberts.
But Boyer faces up to 22 years in prison if he violates the terms of his probation, Roberts said. He has to register as a sex offender.
If Superior Court Judge Gary Meyer does not believe probation is appropriate then he would allow Boyer to withdraw his plea.
A doctor performed a psychological evaluation on Boyer, which Meyer will review before sentencing.
“He is seeking help, treatment,” Worthington said. “And he wanted to get this resolved privately and with as little pain to everyone concerned.”
Boyer will have to seek further psychological counseling if granted probation.
The original district attorney’s complaint charged that Boyer had on numerous occasions “engaged in substantial sexual conduct” with the girl in her bed and on a couch.
When asked about the charges on July 23, Boyer said it was an “unfortunate situation.” Worthington has advised Boyer not to speak to the press.
Boyer was a pioneer in the cycling world in the late 1970s and early ‘80s. In 1981, he became the first American to ever compete in the Tour de France. He raced the Tour four more times, placing as high as 12th. In 1985, he returned to the U.S. and handily won that year’s edition of the Race Across America. He was inducted into the United States Cycling Hall of Fame in 1998 and owns BoyerSports, a cycling shop on the Monterey Peninsula.