David Paisley picked the wrong place to have lunch.
On Tuesday, the former Hellgate High School girls’ basketball coach and convicted felon sat down in Bonner Park less than 100 feet away from five people who took great interest in his presence.
One of those people was Missoula Police Detective Chris Shermer, who one year ago arrested Paisley for trying to arrange sex with a teenage girl. Shermer was himself having lunch with four of his colleagues on the force.
Just 20 days ago, Paisley was sentenced for the crime – 10 years with the Department of Corrections, all suspended. Paisley was to have no contact with children, and was not to be at any place where children congregate: malls, swimming pools – and parks.
It wasn’t long before the 43-year-old Missoula man, who was a longtime high school basketball coach in Montana, noticed the presence of the five detectives. He got up and walked away.
“I was only 20 yards away,” Shermer said after Missoula County District Judge Ed McLean ordered Paisley held on a $10,000 bail Wednesday afternoon. “And seeing me, and seeing who I was with, he just stood up and walked away.”
Police searched for Paisley that afternoon, and arrested him when he showed up Wednesday morning to see his probation officer.
Paisley has a 14-year history of coaching basketball in Montana high schools. He coached the Darby High School girls' team, the Sentinel junior varsity girls' team and was at Hellgate for three months in 2007 before he suffered a heart attack. He hasn't coached since.
Now jailed for the probation violation, Paisley will appear in court on July 6 on a petition to revoke his sentence.
He could get 10 years in prison – this time, with none of it suspended.
Deputy Missoula County Attorney Jason Marks hasn’t decided what length of sentence he will pursue.
“I can tell you for sure that we will be asking for prison,” he said.
On June 9, Paisley avoided prison when McLean sentenced him to 10 years probation, but he had a long list of conditions to abide by.
One was staying away from parks.
Last April, Paisley entered an Alford plea in the case, in which he admitted no guilt but agreed a jury would likely convict him. He had been charged after exchanging sexually tinged online messages with a person he thought was a 14-year-old girl in the spring of 2010.
That “girl” was actually Shermer, who in May 2010 showed up behind Kmart for what Paisley thought would be a sexual encounter. Instead, he was arrested.
During sentencing earlier this month, McLean warned Paisley: “You’ve stretched the limits of society’s tolerance. There is no more give, no more elasticity. If you stretch it once more, it will break.”
That break may have occurred Tuesday at Bonner Park.