Jeschke Headed to Trial
Former Santa Barbara High Tennis Coach to Face 19 Counts
Former Santa Barbara High School assistant tennis coach Peter Jeschke was ordered by Judge Harry Loberg on Wednesday to stand trial as charged on 18 criminal charges, ranging from furnishing drugs and alcohol to minors, to having sexual intercourse and oral copulation with a minor to driving on a suspended license.
After hearing testimony from lead investigator Jim Ella, a detective with the Santa Barbara Police Department, Loberg rendered his decision. “It does appear that the charged crimes were committed,” he said. Little physical evidence came out over the course of the proceeding, and the judge based his decision solely on the testimony of Ella. In the courtroom during the proceedings were the parents of one of the alleged victims, as well as Jeschke’s father.
Ella, through senior deputy district attorney Joyce Dudley’s questioning, outlined the series of events which allegedly occurred leading up to Jeschke’s arrest on December 14. The information was gathered through a series of interviews with the alleged victims and several others connected to the case. Ella interviewed Jane Doe No. 1 on two separate occasions about what had happened. According to his testimony, during an October tennis tournament in Orange County, Jeschke and three players on the girls tennis team went out to breakfast, where, according to the information the 16-year-old woman provided to Ella, Jeschke ordered a mimosa at the restaurant, and let her drink half of it. Later that day, he allegedly took her and another girl to the store, where he bought a six pack of beer and two bottles of alcohol. Later that day, Jeschke and the girls went to Disneyland, where Jeschke allegedly bought beer and put it in a plastic cup with a lid for the girls to drink.
Later, in October, Jane Doe No. 4 allegedly told Ella that Jeschke had offered her marijuana on three separate occasions, at one point allegedly showing her a small prescription bottle. She declined. Another time, she said, Jeschke offered to get the girls marijuana and alcohol if they ever needed it. She also told Ella that one time she went to Jeschke’s house with Doe No. 1 and he offered them marijuana
The most serious allegations came from Doe No. 1, who allegedly told Ella that on November 11 Jeschke had her over to his house, where they allegedly ate pizza and drank white wine, which “made her feel loose,” Ella said. They started making out, and Jeschke began massaging her breast, the girl told Ella. Jeschke’s brother came home at this time, so they drove to a street in Montecito, where they climbed into his back seat, where he massaged her vagina, penetrating it with his finger, and then he performed oral sex on her. Ella testified that a similar instance happened a week later, in the car, but this time he allegedly took her hand and had her rub his penis, causing him to ejaculate.
On November 21, the girl told Ella, Jeschke was house-sitting and had her over. He allegedly engaged in oral sex with her after sitting in the Jacuzzi, and then they allegedly had sex outside the Jacuzzi, which she told Ella was “uncomfortable” because it was her first time. Two days later, Jeschke allegedly gave the girl ecstasy, and the night eventually led to sex on the couch.
Before his arrest on December 14, the girl made a phone call to Jeschke in the presence of authorities, trying to get him to make admissions. Ella said Jeschke made “numerous remarks” suggesting the two had sex, although he never said as much on the phone. Defense attorney Allen Bifano asked Ella if Jeschke admitted to sex with Doe No. 1, which he admitted, “No.” In the phone call, Doe No. 1 asked Jeschke, “Do you think you’d ever have sex with me again?” He replied, “What do you mean?”
Bifano had quite the difficult time cross examining Ella. Question after question the detective had trouble understanding what Bifano was asking. “I don’t have an independent recollection of that,” “Can you repeat the question?” and other answers of confusion followed Bifano’s questions more often than not. Bifano was visibly frustrated throughout much of his cross examination, raising his voice and speaking slowly and intentionally to Ella. At one point, Loberg cautioned Bifano to treat the witness with respect.
Bifano asked Ella if testing had been done on the couch on which Jeschke and the girl allegedly had sex and he said yes, but no semen had been discovered. Ella had testified earlier that the girl told him Jeschke had ejaculated on her stomach during sex.
At the conclusion of the testimony, Bifano attempted to lessen the charges levied against his client, but to no avail. Jeschke will be arraigned on, among other charges, two felony counts of unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor under 18, four felony counts of oral copulation with a person under 18, two felony counts of sexual penetration by a foreign object, and two felony counts of giving marijuana to a minor over 14.
His next court appearance is an arraignment hearing in front of Judge Brian Hill on May 22 at 8:30 a.m.