New charges filed against former girls basketball coach

He’s been in prison since 2004 and has a possible early release date of December 2020.

David Etheridge (Washington Department of Corrections)

David Etheridge (Washington Department of Corrections)

EVERETT — A sex offender imprisoned for raping and molesting girls on a basketball team he coached in the late 1990s could face more time behind bars after additional charges were filed against him.

David W. Etheridge, 60, is serving time at the Twin Rivers Correctional Center in Monroe with a possible early release date of December 2020. He was sentenced in 2004 to 20 years in prison after convictions for first-degree rape, first-degree molestation and possession of child pornography. The charges involved five girls.

Etheridge used to coach basketball for the Alderwood Boys & Girls Club and Lynnwood Tigers Youth Sports. He coached some of the victims. Others were friends of his family. All were between 8 and 11 years old when he assaulted them, according to court documents.

The newest charges alleging rape and molestation were filed in October and involve an allegation from 1996 and a sixth person. She told a Snohomish County sheriff’s detective earlier this year that she lied as a child when she denied being abused. She said she was terrified of Etheridge, was embarrassed by what happened and feared he would not be sent to jail.

During a 2004 evaluation to determine if he was eligible for a lighter sentence and treatment for sexual deviancy, Etheridge admitted fondling the girl “a time or two” when she was a child, according to court papers. After the evaluation, he was not deemed a good candidate for treatment and was sentenced to the long prison term.

He has pleaded not guilty to the new charges in Snohomish County Superior Court.

A seventh person, another former basketball player, also told the detective earlier this year that she, too, was molested by Etheridge as a child.

She said “she was ashamed, never came forward, and spent the last 25 years dealing with it privately,” according to charging papers filed by Snohomish County deputy prosecuting attorney Jarett Goodkin.

Prosecutors were able to file charges involving the first woman, but not the second.

Earlier this year, the Legislature changed the state statute of limitations for first-degree child rape and first-degree child molestation to allow prosecution of those crimes over a lifetime.

However, the statute of limitations already had expired under the old law involving allegations of one of the women, who had already turned 30.

In the other case, the charges were filed before the woman turned 30 and they therefore could be pursued under the change in the law, according to court papers.

A judge granted a prosecution request requiring $1 million bail in the event Etheridge is released from prison before his case goes to trial. The trial is now scheduled for June.

In seeking the high bail, Goodkin wrote that Etheridge was a risk to flee, given the possibility of another lengthy prison sentence.

“As stated in the affidavit of probable cause in the case from 2004, Etheridge used (his) position as a father, basketball coach and neighbor to gain access to and ultimately rape and molest numerous young females, who are still coming forward 20 years later,” Goodkin wrote.

Eric Stevick: 425-339-3446; stevick@heraldnet.com.

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