Former teacher in jail for sex crimes to be released

Former teacher in jail for sex crimes to be released »Play Video
KENNEWICK, Wash. -- KEPR learned a convicted sex offender and retired Kennewick school teacher could be released from prison any day now. Not if a local law firm can help it.

Bill Pickerel was such a popular teacher and coach at Kennewick High they even named a wing after him. It was removed once he was accused.

The former educator admitted sexually assaulting students for years.
He took teenaged boys on trips to Seattle to take advantage of them away from their parents. He pleaded guilty to sexual misconduct in 2008 and has been locked up ever since. But many still remember.

Michelle Barrow, "To think other students were my age and one of their teachers committing such a you know, terrible thing."

An ad in the Tri-City Herald is picking an old scab. They're seeking alleged victims hoping they'll come forward, in an effort to keep the 78 year old in jail.

"There's a real feeling among the victims that nobody is acknowledging what happened to them," said attorney Jeff Kreutz.

He is one of the attorneys working the case. He says a number of victims have come forward in just the last year.

"We anticipate there's probably dozens and dozens if not a hundred or more potential victims," he said.

That's entirely possible. Pickerel himself admitted there were so many victims he couldn't remember them all.

Pickerel has been slated for early release since Christmas, knocking off about half of his ten year sentence just for good behavior. While he's still up at the Airways Correction Facility in Spokane, the Department of Corrections has confirmed that the ball is rolling on his release and he could get out any day.

Kreutz is also pressing the Kennewick School District for the results of its investigation into Pickerel. He says taxpayers paid for the work to be done.

He said,"We haven't received any response with regard to those documents and that request for the tax funded investigation that was done by a local law firm."

Pickerel cried at his sentencing and said he didn't want to die in prison.

If he's set free, he will register as a sex offender and cannot live in the Tri-Cities.