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Ferndale school assistant wrestling coach accused of rape, arrested

School District sign outside administration building on Vista Drive (October 2016). Photo: My Ferndale News

Ferndale Police issued the following press release today after Dalton J Cristelli, age 20, was booked into the Whatcom County Jail about 1:30pm this afternoon, May 30th, charged with suspicion of rape in the 2nd degree, suspicion of rape in the 3rd degree and rape of a child in the 3rd degree. School District officials said Cristelli was employed as a part-time assistance wrestling coach at Horizon Middle School.

On May 23rd, 2019, the Ferndale Police Department received a report regarding an allegation of a sexual relationship between at 15-year-old female student from Ferndale High School and a 20-year-old adult male who works part-time as a wrestling coach for the Ferndale School District.

During the investigation, in addition to the original victim, two other victims came forward. At this point in the investigation there is no indication that any of the incidents occurred on school grounds.

The 20-year-old part-time coach was identified as Dalton J Cristelli (04/26/1999) of Ferndale, Washington. He was contacted and booked into Whatcom County Jail. He is no longer employed by the Ferndale School District.

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Ferndale Police Department established probable cause for the following charges:

Rape of a Child in the 3rd Degree: In March of 2019 Cristelli (age 19 at the time) had sexual intercourse with a 15-year-old female student. The difference in age between the two is over 48 months.

Rape in the 3rd Degree: In the spring of 2016, Cristelli had non-consensual sexual intercourse with a female who was the age of 15 or 16 at the time.

Rape in the 2nd Degree: Approximately 3 to 5 years ago, Cristelli had sexual intercourse with a female victim who was incapable of consent.

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This is an ongoing investigation. Due to the nature of the crime and the age of the victims at the time of the incidents, no further information is expected to be released.

Officials with the Ferndale School District released the following statement in response to the charges.

The Ferndale School District received an allegation that a part-time coach engaged in sexual misconduct with a student. The District reported this information to the Ferndale Police Department and requested an investigation. The Ferndale Police Department initiated an investigation with the full cooperation and support of the District, which has resulted in the arrest of the coach. The safety of students is the District’s top priority and we will continue to cooperate fully with law enforcement as they pursue this investigation.

NOTE: 5/30/19 5pm – This story was corrected to reflect that Cristelli was an assistant wrestling coach at Horizon Middle School according to District officials and not at Ferndale High School as originally reported.


  1. Michael Martinez May 31, 2019

    Does this have anything to do with the high school students protest from a couple weeks ago or is it unrelated?

    • Ally May 31, 2019

      That walkout was for how rape kind of goes unnoticed so it kind of goes together

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