Former Mark Keppel basketball coach pleads not guilty to sex-related charges

Joseph Alan Kikuchi, a former basketball coach of the girls’ basketball team at Mark Keppel High School, pleaded not guilty to sex-related charges at his arraignment on Monday.
 
Kikuchi faces five counts of committing a lewd act with a child, as well as other counts relating to sexual misconduct, according to MyNewsLA.
 
He is due back in court Feb. 24 for a hearing to determine if the courts will proceed with a trial.
 
Kikuchi is alleged to have had an ongoing sexual relationship with a player on his team. Prosecutors say that the girl, 15 at the time of the incident, was threatened by Kikuchi when she tried to break off the relationship, the LA Times reported in Oct. At a hearing prosecutors read out some of the text messages that Kikuchi had allegedly sent to the player. One message read, "Don’t piss me off. If you do this, I will move up other girls,” suggesting that Kikuchi had threatened to demote the player if she didn't comply with his demands.
 
If convicted on all charges, Kikuchi will face up to 20 years in a state prison.

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