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Friday, January 18 , 2019, 4:41 am | Fair 55º


Witness Intimidation Comes Into Play In Ex-Coach’s Sex-Abuse Trial

A former player testifies that Peter Jeschke persuaded her to coerce several witnesses, including his accuser

As the trial of former Santa Barbara High School tennis coach Peter Jeschke began to wind down, a witness took the stand Monday and presented an interesting twist that could have Jeschke liable for witness intimidation. In addition, Jeschke is facing a dozen charges, including allegations of having sex with a player on his team in 2007 and for giving drugs and alcohol to minors.

Many witnesses have come forward during the case, but Monday’s witness, who first took the stand Friday, told a different story than the rest.

The girl, a former player on Jeschke’s team and now a freshman in college, recounted how her former coach had persuaded her to intimidate several witnesses, including the girl who alleges he had sex with her.

The witness said that when Jeschke initially contacted her before the trial began, she was wary of taking action against the witnesses but eventually relented after multiple calls and e-mails from him. The girl then created a Facebook page with a false identity and sent messages to the girl’s sister, the day before she was to take the stand.

One message said she would “be ripped apart and look like a complete idiot” if she testified. The witness said Jeschke told her what to write and that she only typed the message. She said she was still supportive of Jeschke and, when prodded by deputy attorney Joyce Dudley, said she had never asked the girl what Jeschke had done to her. She also confirmed that Jeschke had provided her and her younger brother, who took the stand Friday, with alcohol.

When Dudley asked whether the girl was sorry, she said she was “extremely sorry.”

Throughout the trial, many others have come forward to testify, including other girls on the tennis team, girls who received private lessons from Jeschke, school administrators, and friends and parents of the girl who alleges the sexual encounter with Jeschke.

Last week, the girl, now 18, faced hours of questioning from Dudley and from Los Angeles-based Lara Yeretsian, Jeschke’s defense attorney. In her unemotional testimony, she recounted having sex with Jeschke twice in November 2007, once in his car and once at a house he was watching for a friend.

Testimony and closing arguments from the attorneys are expected to wrap up this week, leaving the jury to deliberate the case’s outcome.

Noozhawk staff writer Lara Cooper can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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