Former NFL linebacker Nate Webster was convicted Wednesday of sex-related charges involving the teenage daughter of a former assistant coach for the Cincinnati team.
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Webster, 34, who last played for the Denver Broncos in 2008, was indicted in June on charges of sexual battery, gross sexual imposition and five counts of unlawful sexual conduct with a 15-year-old girl.
After deliberating six hours over two days, the jury found Webster guilty on four of the five counts of unlawful sexual conduct, while returning a not guilty verdict on the remaining charges.
Prosecutors say Webster had sexual contact with the girl in 2009 when she was 15 and threatened to harm her if she told anyone. Webster admits having sex with the girl the next year, when she was 16, the legal age of consent in Ohio, but denies that the sexual relations began earlier than that.
”We obviously are disappointed with the verdict in some respects,” Webster’s attorney, Gregory Samms said after court. He said they plan to file an appeal after sentencing, but said he could not comment on specific issues being considered for the appeal.
Samms said that the girl lied when she said she was 15 at the time 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.
Assistant Hamilton County Prosecutor Seth Tieger declined to comment on the verdict or other aspects of the case prior to sentencing, scheduled for June 6.
The prosecutor’s office said Webster could be sentenced to up to 20 years in prison. Webster could have faced up to 36 1/2 years in prison if he had been convicted on all counts.
A former University of Miami standout, Webster was drafted by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the third round of the 2000 NFL Draft. He played four seasons in Tampa and was a member of the team during its Super Bowl XXXVII victory in 2003. Webster spent two seasons with the Cincinnati Bengals before closing out the final three years of his career with the Broncos.