Del Norte County District Attorney, Dale Trigg – February 11, 2015 –
A Del Norte County jury found Joseph Aaron Young (41) of Crescent City guilty of two felony counts and two misdemeanor counts this afternoon related to an inappropriate intimate relationship he had with a juvenile male who was 17 at the time. Young, a former cheer coach at Del Norte High School, met the juvenile in the spring of 2014 when the then 16 year old tried out for the cheer team. Young was the juvenile’s cheer coach during the 2014-2015 school year. Young will be sentenced on March 10, 2016 when he will face up to six years, six months in state prison. He will also be required to register as a sex offender for life regardless of the sentence.
The jury found Young guilty of two felony counts of Contact of a Minor with Intent to Commit a Sexual Offense for arranging meetings with the juvenile on April 6 and 7, 2015 to engage in lewd and lascivious behavior; one misdemeanor count of Annoying or Molesting a Child for a course of conduct from October 1, 2014 through September 1, 2015, the last day the juvenile was a minor; and one misdemeanor count of Disobeying a Court Order of June 30, 2015 that he stay away from the juvenile after the police caught the two at a late-night rendezvous around a campfire at the beach on July 12, 2015. The jury acquitted Young for a third felony count of Contact of a Minor with Intent to Commit Sexual Offense related to the July 12th incident.
The jury heard evidence over the course of three days that included 100’s of electronic messages exchanged between Young and the juvenile, many of which were highly sexual in content and showed the depth of the intimate relationship that had developed between the two. The juvenile and Young both testified that they had no inappropriate physical contact before the juvenile turned 18 but both admitted to doing so shortly afterward.
“This was a difficult case in that we did not have a cooperative victim. He was in love with the Defendant and wanted to protect him. The juvenile and the Defendant were not honest with the jury. This was a smart and attentive jury that did a very good job of listening carefully to all of the evidence and seeing through the lies,” said District Attorney Dale P. Trigg who tried the case. “This was a good kid but one who was particularly vulnerable. He was taken advantage of by a sophisticated, older man who was supposed to be there to mentor him, teach him and help him transition to adulthood, not prey on him. I hope this young man realizes at some point that he is a crime victim who did nothing wrong. He didn’t deserve any of this that the Defendant put him through,” said Trigg.
Del Norte District Attorney Dale P. Trigg personally handled the prosecution of the case. District Attorney Chief Investigator AC Field and Investigator Melanie Barry, Crescent City Police Department Detective Keith Doyle and officers Sarah Asbury and Alex Pearson, Del Norte Sheriff’s Department Sergeant Richard Griffin and Brookings Police Department Detective Tyler McCourt investigated the case.