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Montimere to be released - Odessa American: Education

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Montimere to be released

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Posted: Thursday, May 2, 2013 7:45 am

Former Permian basketball standout Jerry Joseph would have been 19 years old this year – if he actually existed.

Instead, it’s 25-year-old Guerdwich Montimere who is scheduled to be released from prison on May 13, two years after his felony convictions.

Montimere was convicted in May 2011 on two counts of sexual assault of a child and three counts of tampering with government records after it was uncovered that Montimere posed as a junior high student when he was actually 21 years old.

He was first introduced to Nimitz Junior High basketball in 2009, when he worked out with the team before joining the Permian basketball team posing as a 16-year-old.

Montimere claimed to be a Haitian orphan, gaining the sympathy of Permian Head Coach Danny Wright, who allowed Montimere to stay in his home.

“That is a very unfortunate thing that happened,” Wright said. And the program, my family, my decision making has moved on.”

After an off-season basketball tournament, several people from Montimere’s former high school basketball team in Florida recognized him and began a chain of questions that led to the discovery of his identity.

Tips were given to law enforcement and the Odessa American about his identity, and an investigation was opened by Ector County ISD and Immigrations and Customs Enforcement.

Although there was some initial confusion as to whom Montimere was, several documents proved he was not actually Jerry Joseph and many photographs linked him to the former Florida high school basketball player.

In addition to falsifying those government documents, Montimere was accused of having sex with a 15-year-old girl who thought he was 16 years old at the time. Attempts to locate the victim and her family were not successful.

Wright said he initially felt betrayed by Montimere.

“I wouldn’t label myself as gullible, but lesson learned,” Wright said. “I think that sometimes, you make decisions with your heart in the hopes of fixing things and doing what you think God wants you to do as a God-fearing person.”

He said it ultimately proved to be a mistake, and despite still believing in students and wanting to help them, he said he would have to be more diligent in the future.

Wright said he didn’t even know Montimere was being released in the next two weeks, and that no one from his family has been in contact with him for the past two years.

Jimmie Wright, Danny Wright’s wife, was a staunch supporter of Montimere in the beginning, but Danny Wright said it’s partially because of her maternal instincts.

“As soon as I saw his response in Mr. (Roy) Garcia’s office, mentally the shift was made. It was a brain decision. It had very little to do with the heart,” Danny Wright said. “She’s a mother, and I think they have that deal where no matter what is going on, how can the situation be nurtured?”

According to the Texas Department of Public Safety website, sex offenders must register within seven days of arriving at the local area where that person will stay.

Even if the offender moves out of the state, according to the website, that person must register with local law enforcement.

Odessa, TX

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