First witness called in ex-Bengal teen sex trial

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - The trial of a former Bengal who was indicted for having sex with a teenage girl began Tuesday in Hamilton County.

Nathaniel "Nate" Webster Jr. was indicted in 2011 on charges of gross sexual imposition, sexual battery and five counts of unlawful sexual conduct with a minor.

"When you're in your own neighborhood, in that safe and secure environment, you expect to be able to control your life on a day to day basis," prosecuting attorney Seth Tieger said in his opening statement. "The problem is when you have a predator in your midst."

Tieger told jury members the teen was 15 when relations with Webster began. At the time, he says Webster was in his early 30s.

"Mr. Webster told [the girl] you better not tell anybody or I'll kill your father, mother, sister and grandmother," Tieger said.

When it came time for the defense to make their statement, defense attorney Gregory Samms argued the relationship was consensual and took place when the girl was 16.

"There was never any force," Samms argued. "This stuff about 'he threatened her life', is propaganda and a story."

Samms alleged the teen changed her story after her parents found out she may have helped someone steal marijuana from one of Webster's vehicles.

"It is during this time when all of this is about to fall down on her, when everything she has done is about to collapse on her that she goes 'Oh daddy, I've been raped'," Samms said.

The mother of the teen was the first witness to take the stand.

"He played on the Cincinnati Bengals. He's a neighbor of ours," the mother said, getting chocked up as she spoke about Webster.

The mother of the teen says the family trusted Webster, even enough to let their daughter babysit for his children.

"Knowing that he was a fellow member of the NFL you kind of feel like there's a trust and a bond," she said.

Court documents show the defense has subpoenaed a list of witnesses including Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis, Bengal's Assistant Coach Hue Jackson and Broncos running back Willis McGahee.

Webster, Lewis and McGahee all went to University of Miami, Florida.

According to Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters, Webster began engaging in the sexual conduct when the victim was 15-years-old.

Deters said the incidents took place "dozens" of times, but Webster is only being charged for the incidents that took place when the victim was 15.

The teen is the daughter of a former Bengals coach.

Webster was traded to the Bengals in 2004 after being drafted by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2000.

He signed as a free agent with the Denver Broncos in 2006. He hasn't played since 2008.

Last year, he was hired as the defensive coordinator for the Bellevue High School football team.

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