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Lawyer Says Golf Coach Facing 30 Years to Life for Sexual Abuse

A conviction could put 31-year-old Andrew Michael Nisbet in prison for the rest of his life, says one criminal defense lawyer.

Screenshot from YouTube, Andrew Nisbet
Screenshot from YouTube, Andrew Nisbet

By Autumn Johnson

A well-known 31-year-old Livermore golf coach may spend the rest of his life in prison if convicted of repeatedly sexually abusing two boys over a period of about four years. Livermore resident Andrew Michael Nisbet was arrested on Dec. 7 while at the Las Positas Golf Course in Livermore where he had worked as a coach for children since 2006.

Nisbet, who was arraigned on Tuesday, is accused of 65 sexual abuse charges of two boys between the ages of 12 and 17. The felony charges against Nisbet range from oral copulation by force, oral copulation of a person under the age of 16, oral copulation of a person under age 18, lewd and lascivious acts with a child age 14 or 15 years to distribution or exhibition of lewd material to a minor and arranging a meeting with a minor for the purpose of engaging in lewd and lascivious behavior.

"Very conservatively speaking, Nisbet is facing 30 years to life, assuming the District Attorney files under the penal code enhancement section of 667.61(e)(4), of which at least two of the charges qualifies for," Mary Ann Bird, a criminal defense attorney based in Stockton, said. "That section is an enhancement section for multiple victims."

Bird added that the laws, including the enhancement section, relating to sexual abuse of children are in place because children are so vulnerable.

"The victim gets really psychologically screwed up in cases like this because the suspect is well-liked and sometimes it takes a long time before the victim realizes it is not their fault what is happening to them," Bird said.

Bird says that if the DA were to offer Nisbet a plea bargain, it would likely be a minimum of 25 years.

According to Bird, because he worked for a private entity, Nisbet likely never had to pass a background check as he would have in order to work for a public entity.

Bird described what she called "classic pedophile behavior" as most commonly starting when the suspect is young.

"Most pedophiles begin to show signs at an early age," Bird said. "As they get older, they get very good at hiding their behavior. They groom the children by giving them gifts and ingratiate themselves with parents and faculty. They purposely engage and put themselves in activities involving children. This is classic pedophile behavior. There is always the same pattern— male or female with a few variances here and there. "

Nisbet, known throughout the professional golfing community, coached many children in junior golf tournaments throughout the state as well as nationally.

Livermore police said Las Positas Golf Course officials immediately fired Nisbet, who was director of instruction at the club, after police told them that he had been arrested. Nisbet was also the founder of GRIP Academy, which drew students from all over the East Bay.

Nisbet was to receive the 2013 PGA Junior Golf Leader Award from the Northern California Section of the PGA at the Contra Costa Country Club at a banquet on Sunday.

A press release announcing the award praised Nisbet's success in the field of youth golf: "Andy has been a tremendous contributor to Junior Golf, creating a variety of inviting programs for young people and teaching golf professionals how to get started on this track."

[Related article: Golf Coach Arrested on Eve of Award Banquet]  

Nisbet is being held without bail at the Santa Rita Jail in Dublin.

According to Livermore Police, the investigation into the sexual abuse is ongoing. LPD encourages parents to speak with their children if they had contact with Nisbet. If anyone has information about this case, they are encouraged to call the Livermore Police Department at (925) 294-7531.

Those who wish to remain anonymous may do so.

Bay City News contributed to this report.
Dan Murray December 12, 2013 at 09:10 AM
It is important to perform a proper background check on adults who will be working with children. However only 4% of Child Sexual Abusers have a criminal record that will show up on a criminal background check, The CDC has developed Preventing Child Sexual Abuse Within Youth-serving Organizations: Getting Started on Policies and Procedures to assist youth-serving organizations as they begin to adopt prevention strategies for child sexual abuse. This along with psychological tests such as The Diana Screen (developed by Dr. Gene G. Abel) can reduce the risk of placing men and women who present sexual risks to children and teenagers into positions of trust.
Autumn Johnson January 15, 2014 at 05:09 PM
New Charges Filed Against Livermore Golf Pro Accused of Sexually Abusing Boys http://dublin.patch.com/groups/police-and-fire/p/new-charges-filed-against-livermore-golf-pro-accused-of-sexually-abusing-boys-dublin
Autumn Johnson February 21, 2014 at 11:48 AM
Livermore Golf Coach Pleaded 'Not Guilty' to 75 Counts of Sexual Abuse of Children http://livermore.patch.com/groups/police-and-fire/p/livermore-golf-coach-pleaded-not-guilty-to-75-counts-of-sexual-abuse-of-children

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