Crime

Former coach, pastor sentenced

OLYMPIA - A former youth football coach and youth pastor will spend 12 1/2 years in prison for molesting three boys - two of them former players on the football team he coached in 2009 and a 13-year-old he ministered to at church in 2002.

“It was an abuse of trust, where these young boys trusted their coach and youth pastor,” Thurston County Special Trials Division Chief Christy Peters said in court Thursday before Derwin Pasley’s sentencing.

Pasley pleaded guilty last month to two counts of second-degree child molestation and one count of third-degree child molestation.

Pasley, 33, did not address the court or apologize to the victims’ families as Thurston County Superior Court Judge Paula Casey handed down a 150-month sentence, which is beyond the standard range.

Casey noted that throughout Pasley’s life, he has been active volunteering to help young people. Those noble pursuits are tainted, Casey told Pasley, because “there must have been an ulterior motive for all of your work.”

Pasley was arrested and charged with child molestation in October 2009, after a 14-year-old boy he coached in the Black Hills Junior Football League told Olympia police that Pasley had molested him. The league has no affiliation with Black Hills High School. The boy told police that Pasley molested him in Pasley’s car after he drove him home from a game.

After the boy’s allegations came to light, a 13-year-old boy on the team Pasley coached came forward with details of being molested by Pasley.

The third boy was 13 when Pasley molested him in 2002. At that time, Pasley was the boy’s youth pastor at Risen Faith Fellowship in Olympia, Peters has said. The molestation was reported to police at the time, but there was not sufficient evidence to go forward with criminal charges, Peters has said.

Pasley’s 2002 case was reopened after the 2009 allegations against Pasley came to light, according to Peters.

During Thursday’s court hearing, the mother of the victim who met Pasley at Risen Faith Fellowship spoke about how no one at the church believed her son.

“The church should protect children,” the mother said, crying. “It should be a safe place.” The trauma negatively affected the boy’s grades and emotional well-being, she said.

Peters said the boy molested in 2002 is now 21, attending college in Oregon.

In 2002, the church hindered the Olympia Police Department’s investigation, Peters said.

“The church did an initial investigation on their own that very much impeded the Olympia Police Department’s investigation,” she said.

The mothers of the boys Pasley coached in the Black Hills Junior Football League also spoke in court Thursday. One spoke about how her son’s coming forward caused him problems with his teammates.

She said that when her son became depressed and sullen during the season, she turned to Pasley, having no idea that his abuse of her son was the cause of his withdrawal from life.

“My son had no will left to live, and everything was overwhelming,” she said.

Initially after Pasley’s arrest, Charles Farrar, then the president of the football league, reserved judgment about whether the allegations were true. He said at the time that Pasley had passed a Washington State Patrol background check when he was hired, then passed criminal background checks every couple of years.

In 1994, Pasley was arrested in Florida on suspicion of a felony sex offense against a child in Dade County, court papers state. Pasley was acquitted of two counts of sexual battery of a minor there, according to Olympia police.

Washington bars unfounded child-abuse allegations from third-party disclosure, so Pasley’s acquittal wouldn’t have shown up on a criminal background check, according to an official with the Washington State Patrol.

The mother of the first victim to come forward also addressed the court. She told Pasley: “I pray that you receive the help that is needed in your life. I pray to God that you will not re-offend when you get out.” She called Pasley “a liar and a predator that preys upon young children.”

After the mothers addressed the court, Judge Casey noted “the havoc that is wreaked upon lives permanently because of this behavior.”

Jeremy Pawloski: 360-754-5465 jpawloski@theolympian.com

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