Ex-Sequim high school coach likely to face charge in sex case

By Joe Smillie
Peninsula Daily News

SEQUIM — A former assistant coach for the Sequim High School girls basketball team likely will face a charge after a 12-day police investigation found he had an inappropriate relationship with one of the players.

It is uncertain whether Jerry Jeff Pedersen, 28, will be prosecuted for a felony or a misdemeanor.

Pedersen was arrested Tuesday night for investigation of felony communicating with a minor for immoral purposes.

He was freed from Clallam County jail Wednesday after county prosecutors referred the case to the city of Sequim for prosecution as a gross misdemeanor.

City Attorney Craig Ritchie said Wednesday afternoon he had yet to speak with Sequim police to determine whether he would prosecute Pedersen on misdemeanor charges or refer the case back to the county for felony charges.

Ritchie said he needs to go over state law more thoroughly.

“We’re looking to see what the commas mean and what police found in their investigation,” Ritchie said.

Detective Sean Madison said Pedersen was arrested after an investigation that began March 21 and included interviews with Sequim High staff and students and reviews of cellphone records and stored data.

“At this time, the Police Department has found no evidence to believe that Mr. Pedersen was inappropriately involved with any other team members or students,” police said in a Tuesday night news release.

The teenage girl was not identified. No other information was released.

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.

One-year contract

Pedersen coached the basketball team on a one-year contract that has expired and is no longer employed by the Sequim School District, said Superintendent Kelly Shea.

Though he couldn’t make a definitive statement about Pedersen returning to the bench, Shea said it would “not be likely” Pedersen returns, even if cleared of the allegations.

“The community expects a certain level of trust,” Shea said. “It’s going to be hard to be able to have that in light of these allegations.

“Our biggest concern right now is the young lady and making sure she is going to be OK.”

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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 02. 2014 7:40PM
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