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In brief: Former softball coach gets year in prison for raping player

An angry judge sentenced a former Olympia-area softball coach to one year in prison for raping a 15-year-old girl on his team during a tournament in the summer of 2011 in Clark County.

Before she handed down her sentence, Clark County Superior Court Judge Diane Woolard rebuked Dennis L. Wells and members of his softball team, Capitol Lady Outlaws, who attended Friday’s hearing. A deputy prosecutor had told the judge the victim was kicked off the team after reporting the sexual assault.

“I’m appalled. I see members of the Lady Outlaws here. I want you to know it’s unforgiveable,” Woolard said.

Woolard went on to call the handling of reported sex abuse a re-victimization. “I’m appalled and it’s absolutely unforgiveable,” she said.

The judge added that she approved the plea bargain because it avoided the 15-year-old and her sister – who was also sexually abused by Wells in King County – from having to testify at trial.

The 40-year-old Lacey man pleaded guilty Sept. 6 to third-degree rape of a child.


OLYMPIA – Washington Gov. Chris Gregoire has modified a statewide ban on outdoor burning in light of storms forecast to bring significant rain.

The governor is lifting the ban for Western Washington counties, effective at 8 a.m. today.

For all counties east of the Cascade Mountains, the outdoor burn ban will remain in effect through midnight Monday.

Gregoire called the rain that started Friday “a welcome change” for a state that has seen major wildfires. Still, she urged residents to continue to “take extra caution to prevent additional human-caused fires.”

The governor made her decision after consulting with state Department of Natural Resources Director Peter Goldmark and Washington State Patrol Chief John Batiste.