Former Sequim volunteer basketball coach may face felony charges

By Joe Smillie
Peninsula Daily News

PORT ANGELES –– A Class C felony charge likely will be filed against Jerry Jeff Pedersen, a former volunteer Sequim High School girls basketball coach accused of inappropriate behavior with a 15-year-old player.

John Troberg, Clallam County chief criminal deputy prosecutor, said Friday he expects his office will enter formal charges against Pedersen this week.

He had no other details, saying the attorney handling the case was out sick.

Pedersen, 28, assistant coach for the girls varsity team, was arrested by Sequim police and jailed April 1 for investigation of communicating with a minor for immoral purposes.

The 2004 graduate of Sequim High was released the next day on his own recognizance.

The Clallam prosecutor's office initially sent the case to Sequim for prosecution as a misdemeanor.

After review, City Attorney Craig Ritchie sent the case back to the prosecutor's office April 3, saying he believed the case should be tried as a felony.

If Pedersen is convicted of a Class C felony, the least serious type of felony, he will be required to register as a sex offender.

After receiving a tip from a parent, Sequim police officers said they spent 10 days investigating, poring over cellphone records and stored data and interviewing students and high school staff before making the arrest.

Sean Madison, a police detective, said evidence suggests Pedersen was not inappropriately involved with any other team member or student.

Pedersen coached for the team on an unpaid volunteer basis,

Kelly Shea, Sequim school superintendent, said he doubted Pedersen will be allowed to coach again in light of the allegations.

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Sequim-Dungeness Valley Editor Joe Smillie can be reached at 360-681-2390, ext. 5052, or at jsmillie@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: April 12. 2014 6:37PM
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