Thursday, Apr. 17, 2008
Retired Kennewick teacher accused of sexual assault in limbo between courts
Kristin M. Kraemer, Herald staff writer
A retired Kennewick teacher accused of sexually assaulting teenage boys during overnight trips to Seattle is sitting in a King County jail without any scheduled trial dates.
William B. Pickerel, 72, had court hearings Wednesday in both Benton County and King County superior courts, and both cases were continued.
Pickerel didn't appear in a Kennewick courtroom because he is in jail in King County on $200,000 bail. A spokesman with the King County Prosecuting Attorney's Office said his hearing was expected to be delayed a week or two.
In Benton County, defense attorney Kevin Holt had asked a colleague standing in for him to delay the matter to May 14. Wednesday's hearing had been to reset dates in the case.
Pickerel was a longtime teacher and coach at Kennewick High and worked there as a substitute teacher after retiring in 1998. A building there was renamed in his honor, though the sign has since been covered up while the cases are pending.
Pickerel was known for taking small groups of students to out-of-town professional sports games on his own time. He is charged in Benton County with one count each of first- and second-degree sexual misconduct with a minor.
Prosecutors claim Pickerel took a teenage boy to Seattle in October 2004 and had *** with him once they returned to Kennewick. A month later during another overnight trip to Seattle, he inappropriately touched another teen as the boy slept, prosecutors said.
In King County, he is charged with two counts each of first-degree sexual misconduct with a minor and third-degree child molestation, and one count of second-degree sexual misconduct with a minor.
There, prosecutors claim he had oral *** or sexual contact with five male students on trips to the west side between January 2005 and December 2006.
Court documents show that he admitted he "victimized numerous boys over the course of 27 years. ... (He) had difficulty remembering dates and details of the incidents for many of the occasions."
Pickerel has pleaded innocent to all of the charges.