Kevin L. Hoover
ARCATA – Accused child molester Timothy Ryan Dossey pled guilty to a lesser charge of child endangerment and was released from jail May 5. Formal sentencing takes place June 14.
Dossey, 26, had been held in Humboldt County Jail on $50,000 bail since March 4, when he was arrested on suspicion of Child Molestation and Sending Harmful Matter to Seduce a Minor. Arcata High School school officials learned of the allegations and notified police. It was alleged that Dossey, an AHS Junior Varsity girls’ basketball coach, developed an inappropriate relationship with a 15-year-old female student.
Dossey was arraigned March 9 on three felony charges: child molestation, communication with a minor with intent to commit a molestation and arranging to met a minor for the purpose of engaging in a lewd act.
But on May 5, the first count was reduced to child endangerment and the other two counts were dismissed.
The Penal Code 273a (a) charge that Dossey pled to is a "wobbler," that is, a felony charge that may be reduced to a misdemeanor. It may be expunged from his record following probation.
Meanwhile, Dossey will not be allowed to hold a teaching position in California as long as the conviction remains on his record. He will not have to register as a sex offender.
Deputy District Attorney Kelly Neel was reluctant to offer detail on why the charges were reduced and dismissed prior to Dossey's sentencing. However, she said, "Decisions were made in conjunction with, and with the support of the victim's family."
Neel maintained that the charges were "not necessarily reduced," and that the guilty plea "will prevent him from ever obtaining a teaching credential." If Dossey applies for a teaching job, she said, he will have to fill out a questionnaire which specifically asks whether he had ever been convicted of a felony.
To legally return to the teaching field, she said, Dossey would need a pardon from the governor. She said that Dossey will be on felony supervised probation, and that he will be required to undergo counseling.
Arcata Police Chief Tom Chapman expressed qualified satisfaction with the disposition of the case, but with concerns.
"I'm glad the DA's office was able to reach a mutually agreeable settlement," Chapman said. "I'm disappointed that he won't have to register as a sex offender. We have sex offender registration for a reason."
Chapman expressed concern that given the circumstances of the settlement, Dossey could relocate to another area and continue the behavior.