Former swim coach pleads 'no contest' to molestation

A former coach of the North Whidbey Aquatic Club who was investigated nine years ago for molesting a young swimmer in Oak Harbor more recently pleaded no contest to 20 felony child molestation charges in California, the Mercury News reported.

Andy King, 61, was accused of molesting more than a dozen girls in four different cities in California, as well as a girl in Oak Harbor. His no-contest plea in Santa Clara Superior Court Friday has the same effect as a guilty plea.

Sgt. Teri Gardner, a detective with the Oak Harbor Police Department, investigated the complaint against King in 2000. She worked the case hard, but to her dismay, she was unable to uncover enough evidence for the prosecutor to file charges.

Tuesday, Gardner said she spoke to a detective in California who handled the King case. She had sent the detective notes on the King investigation to help the detective with the case. And she's happy with the outcome.

"He can get up to 42 years," she said. "I like it."

The alleged victim in the Oak Harbor case came forward in 2000 and claimed King had molested her five years before that, when she was just 12 years old.

Also in 2000, board members of the North Whidbey Park and Recreation District, which runs the swim program, received complaints about King from parents. He was accused of questionable conduct, such as giving back rubs and gifts to young swimmers.

But King suddenly disappeared the day the board was scheduled to discuss the complaints. He gave no explanation, but just sent in his letter of resignation. That year, he took a coaching job in San Jose.

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