Former Duluth basketball, baseball coach pleads guilty to assaulting boys

A former Little League baseball and Salvation Army youth basketball coach pleaded guilty Thursday afternoon to two counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct.

Peter Jay Olson, 47, faced eight felony charges on allegations that he sexually assaulted two preteen boys he coached through Little League.

Judge Heather Sweetland accepted Olson’s plea and dismissed six other — mostly lesser — charges he faced. Sweetland ordered a presentence investigation and a psycho-sexual evaluation and scheduled sentencing for 1:30 p.m. Nov. 25.

Under the terms of the plea agreement, Olson’s defense attorneys can argue for a shorter-than-guideline sentence. The state can ask for the longest state guideline sentence recommended for a person like Olson who has no prior criminal history.

After the hearing, prosecutor Rebekka Stumme said the state will argue for the longest guideline sentence, which, in this case, should be about 18 years. Stumme declined to comment further on the case until after sentencing. Defense attorney Daniel Lew also said he would have no comment until after sentencing.

Olson was charged in June with two counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct and one count each of possessing pictorial representation of minors and use of a minor in a sexual performance.

The complaint alleged that Olson twice sexually assaulted a preteen boy and photographed him in sexual positions.

According to the criminal complaint, Olson admitted to investigators that he sexually assaulted the boy in a Salvation Army office and at the defendant’s home.

After a second victim was found, the state filed an amended complaint in August, adding one count each of first-degree criminal sexual conduct, second-degree criminal sexual conduct, possession of pornographic work involving minors and use of a minor in a sexual performance.

The incidents occurred over a period roughly from 2005 to 2011, according to the complaint.

Answering questions from Stumme in a steady voice, Olson admitted to performing sexual acts on one victim and of taking pictures of the victim and himself in a sexually compromising position. Olson also admitted to taking naked photos of himself and the other victim and of having had sexual contact with him.

Olson’s voice was softer when he answered “Guilty” twice when Sweetland asked how he pleaded on counts one and five.

Olson was a longtime coach with the Lake Park Little League, resigning in June. According to the Salvation Army, Olson started coaching in the Rookie Basketball program in 1988 and was terminated from the position in November.

This case was one of two recent criminal proceedings that involved former Salvation Army youth basketball coaches. In an unrelated case, on Sept. 18 a jury found Wendell Greene guilty on three of four counts of criminal sexual conduct for having sexual contact with two sisters who were 8 and 10 at the time. He will be sentenced on Nov. 4.

Duluth News Tribune