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Friday, March 27, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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News >  Crime/Public Safety

Former Ferris assistant coach nears plea agreement on sex trafficking charges

UPDATED: Wed., Jan. 15, 2020

Charles J. Eglet, a former assistant coach football coach at Ferris High School, appeared in court Wednesday and his attorney said he is close to pleading guilty to charges that he enticed a 14-year-old Spokane girl to engage in a “commercial sex act.” The school is shown here in 2014. (Tyler Tjomsland / The Spokesman-Review)
Charles J. Eglet, a former assistant coach football coach at Ferris High School, appeared in court Wednesday and his attorney said he is close to pleading guilty to charges that he enticed a 14-year-old Spokane girl to engage in a “commercial sex act.” The school is shown here in 2014. (Tyler Tjomsland / The Spokesman-Review)

The day before a former assistant football coach at Ferris High School was arrested in 2018 for allegedly convincing a 15-year-old Moses Lake girl to meet him at Northern Quest Resort & Casino, federal documents allege that he enticed a 14-year-old Spokane girl to engage in a “commercial sex act.”

Charles J. Eglet, 30, was arrested Aug. 24, 2018, at the casino by the Washington State Patrol on two counts of third-degree rape, child molestation and communicating with a child for immoral purposes in connection with the Moses Lake girl.

According to court testimony, the FBI then started a separate investigation after the 14-year-old Spokane girl came forward alleging similar conduct by Eglet on Aug. 23, 2018. As a result, federal investigators indicted Eglet in May on a six-count indictment, charging him with online enticement of a minor; sex trafficking by force; child sex trafficking; and receipt, production and possession of child pornography.

Facing up to life in prison, Eglet appeared Wednesday before U.S. District Court Judge Frem Nielsen for a change of plea hearing. However, defense attorney Roger Peven and Assistant U.S. Attorney David Herzog both said they needed more time to work out the details.

Both attorneys said they expect as part of the deal that the Spokane County prosecutors will dismiss the charges involving the Moses Lake girl and that those charges would be rolled into the federal case involving the Spokane girl as part of what’s called a global settlement.

“We have been working diligently to resolve this case prior to trial,” Peven told Judge Nielsen. “We have an agreement as to the largest parts of the plea.”

Herzog said attorneys are trying to resolve the conduct for which Eglet will accept responsibility, but he indicated that both parties agree to the proposed length of recommended incarceration.

“The numbers (of years) are significant and should be sufficient for the state to dismiss their charges,” Herzog told Nielsen.

The judge asked if state prosecutors and federal investigators were charging Eglet under the same set of facts. Herzog said no and added that the FBI began investigating Eglet after a 14-year-old victim from Spokane came forward after she was alerted to news coverage of Eglet’s arrest in 2018.

According to charging documents, Eglet met that girl on July 1 and Aug. 23, 2018. Eglet also is charged with receiving explicit photographs on July 13 of that year. Additionally, he is charged with enticing the girl on July 24 to engage in “sexually explicit conduct for the purpose of producing a visual production of such conduct,” according to court records.

According to the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association, Eglet was an assistant football coach at Ferris in 2017 and 2018. The American Legion Baseball organization also listed Eglet as a team manager for the Ferris ball club in 2018.

At the time of his arrest, then-Spokane Public Schools spokesman Brian Coddington said Eglet was not a teacher at Ferris and had “limited supervised duties related to the football program.” He was immediately placed on leave following his 2018 arrest.

Eglet’s legal problems followed the demise of longtime football coach Jim Sharkey, who was accused in 2016 of exposing himself at a camping retreat in Idaho to football players while joking about the size of his penis. Sharkey has denied the allegations. He and his attorney worked out an agreement in which he admitted to “engaging in inappropriate comments and behavior toward students” but denied ever exposing himself.

Nate Desantiago, 28, the head wrestling coach, resigned in May four days after a human resources investigation was launched into Desantiago’s relations with a female student. Desantiago had worked as an assistant coach for several sports, including coaching football during the same time as Eglet and Sharkey.

As for Eglet, Nielsen set the next change of plea hearing for 9 a.m. Feb. 12. If those negotiations fail, the judge kept Eglet’s original trial date of Feb. 24.

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