By Joe Smillie
Peninsula Daily News
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Jerry Jeff Pedersen, 28, of Sequim was arrested Tuesday night for investigation of felony communicating with a minor for immoral purposes but was freed Wednesday when county prosecutors referred the case to the city for prosecution as a gross misdemeanor.
City Attorney Craig Ritchie said Thursday he believes the case should be tried as a felony and sent it back to the Clallam County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office for review.
Pedersen coached for the team on an unpaid volunteer basis, not under contract, as was reported Thursday.
Sequim School District Superintendent Kelly Shea said Thursday morning he misspoke Wednesday when he said Pedersen been a paid, contracted coach.
Pedersen’s arrest came after a 12-day investigation by Sequim police that included interviews with Sequim High staff and students and reviews of cellphone records and stored data.
Karen Sande, the school district’s human resources director, said volunteer coaches go through an extensive application process that includes fingerprint record checks through the State Patrol and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Pedersen filed an application with the district Nov. 8, 2012, and was cleared Nov. 16 of that same year.
Pedersen, a 2003 graduate of Sequim High, was one of three assistant coaches under head coach Evan Still for this year’s basketball team, which made the playoffs for the first time in three years.
Sequim-Dungeness Valley Editor Joe Smillie can be reached at 360-681-2390, ext. 5052, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.