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Sebastopol tennis coach arrested on suspicion of sexually assaulting minor

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A 43-year-old Sebastopol tennis coach was arrested Monday on suspicion of sexually assaulting a minor several years ago, authorities said Tuesday.

After a two-month investigation, Casey Connaway was arrested about 2 p.m. Monday when deputies found him driving near Ragle Ranch Park in Sebastopol, the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office said in a news release. He was booked into jail on felony charges of sex with a minor who is three or more years younger, oral copulation with a minor and sexual penetration with an object. He was released on $120,000 bail.

On Oct. 26, a woman called the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office and reported that Connaway sexually assaulted her when she was a minor, the news release said.

The woman met Connaway several years ago, when she was 15 years old, through coaching lessons at Ragle Ranch, the news release said. During the coaching sessions, Connaway allegedly began establishing an unsolicited emotional relationship with the young athlete. Eventually, he convinced her to have sex with him multiple times over a two-year period while she was a minor, the news release alleged.

Sonoma County sheriff’s spokeswoman Misti Wood did not say Tuesday how long ago this incident occurred.

The woman, who is now an adult living in Ventura County, feared other young women may have been victimized by Connaway, since he has continued to work as a tennis coach in Sebastopol, the news release said.

Since October, Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office detectives have been working with the woman and detectives at the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office to investigate the incident.

During the investigation, detectives learned that on July 25, 2017, two minors from out of the area were taking lessons from Connaway at a tennis camp.

One of them, a 16-year-old student, told her family she “was uncomfortable with some of Connaway’s statements,” the news release said. Wood did not clarify Tuesday the nature of these statements. Deputies determined, however, that no crime had occurred at that time.

The Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office is evaluating whether there are any more people who may have been victimized by Connaway. Anyone with information relevant to the investigation is asked to contact 707-565-8290.

You can reach Staff Writer Chantelle Lee at 707-521-5337 or chantelle.lee@pressdemocrat.com. On Twitter @ChantelleHLee.

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