Ex-Hoquiam teacher pleads guilty in sex case

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MONTESANO, Wash. (AP) -- The former Hoquiam choir teacher who was charged with sexual misconduct with a minor pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of coercion.

KXRO reports the plea last week in Grays Harbor County Superior Court means Matthew Hirschfelder avoids a trial and having to register as a sex offender.

He could face up to a year in jail when he is sentenced on Tuesday in Montesano.

The case began in 2006 when an 18-year-old choir member told police she had been involved in a sexual relationship with Hirschfelder who was 33 at the time.

The case led to a state Supreme Court decision that student age doesn't matter in teacher-sex cases, even if the student is considered an adult by other state laws.

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Information from: KXRO-AM, http://www.kxro.com