Grand Junction athletic director resigns
GRAND JUNCTION” A man accused of Internet luring resigned Thursday from his post as athletic director at Grand Junction High School, district officials said.
The resignation, effective immediately, came one day after Donald John “Johnnie” Walker, 48, was formally charged in Mesa County District Court with Internet luring, enticement of a child and attempted sexual assault on a child.
He had been on administrative leave since April 4. Walker will receive $23,623 before taxes in salary and $2,850 in earned, unused sick leave, according to district spokeswman Jeff Kirtland.
“As a result of the recent allegations made against me, I believe it is in the best interest of all, and most importantly, of the students, that I submit my resignation,” Walker wrote.
The two-paragraph letter was addressed to the board of Mesa County School District 51 and delivered to Superintendent Tim Mills, and David Price, the attorney for the school district.
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Jason Steitle, 32, of San Antonio, Texas, told authorities he chatted online with Walker last month while posing as a 14-year-old high school freshman named Heather. Walker allegedly conducted sexually-charged conversations over a three-week period, asking about the girl’s past experiences, and stating he wanted to kidnap her and take her to a mountain cabin, police said.
“It’s certainly unfortunate that the whole incident has happened, but I have to applaud him for taking this step and making things a lot simpler for the district,” Ron Rowley, District 51 board president, said about Walker’s resignation.
A preliminary hearing for Walker was scheduled for June 25.