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In Plea Deal, Football Coach, Wife Admit Sex Charges : Courts: Couple are sentenced to suspended terms and probation and must register as sex offenders. Lawyer says they wanted to avoid prison and a trial.

May 29, 1993|TOM GORMAN | TIMES STAFF WRITER

RIVERSIDE — Hemet High School football coach Randy Brown and his wife, Kelly, pleaded guilty Friday to felony charges that she had sex with one of her husband's players and that the coach not only arranged it but solicited a second youth as well.

With the agreement of the district attorney's office and defense attorneys, Superior Court Judge H. Dennis Myers pronounced the sentence: a suspended 16-month prison term and five years probation, which requires the couple, among other things, to register as sex offenders.

The couple's attorneys said the events were not as scurrilous as they appeared, but said the Browns pleaded guilty to all charges to avoid prison and avoid a trial that would have more fully exposed details of their private lives and caused "further difficulties for the two young men, the school and the community."

The defense attorneys said Kelly Brown, now 31, and a then-17-year-old member of the football team entered a consensual sexual relationship two years ago, initially unbeknown to Randy Brown. When the coach learned of it, attorneys said, he chose to tolerate the affair and hope that it would end, rather to than object to it and risk losing his wife and their four young children.

The plea bargain--in which Randy and Kelly Brown pleaded guilty to two counts of conspiracy to commit oral copulation on a minor, and one count of oral copulation on a minor--was entered at the time a preliminary hearing was scheduled to begin.

Deputy Dist. Atty. Todd Rash said Randy Brown, 39, was not suspected of having sex with a player but was charged with oral copulation because he aided and abetted in the offense.

Rash said the Browns' version of events was mythical and accused the defense attorneys of trying "to put the best spin on a bad situation."

"A much different set of events would have been revealed to the jury if we had gone to trial," Rash said. "We would have proved that the coach did solicit at least two boys to have sex with his wife and that one of these young boys, in an effort to please the coach, not let the coach down, entered sexual relations with the coach's wife."

The prosecutor said he was pleased with the settlement because, among other things, he had succeeded in protecting the identities of the two youths.

Mike Soccio, Randy Brown's attorney, said his client "did not go out, looking for a young man to be with his wife sexually. The attraction between the young man and Kelly was a genuine attraction that developed into a loving relationship."

When her husband discovered the affair, Soccio said, "he made the choice, right or wrong, to tolerate it. He wanted to stay married."

Randy Brown's position was not unlike that of a woman who learns that her husband is having an affair but looks the other way to keep the marriage and family intact, Soccio said.

"He wasn't engaged in any kind of sexual conduct, nor was in the room, nor around Kelly and the young man," Soccio said. "He was genuinely allowing his wife to be involved with another man."

Soccio also insisted that his client never solicited a second youth, but merely talked to the other youngster who had heard of the affair and questioned his coach about it.

The second youth misconstrued or misrepresented the conversation he had with the coach, but Brown nonetheless pleaded guilty to the solicitation charge because the district attorney's office demanded guilty pleas on all counts to avoid a trial, Soccio said.

Kelly Brown's attorney, Steve Harmon, said: "This case is about human frailty, about a young wife having an affair with a young man and her husband trying to manage the situation as best he can."

By virtue of the conviction, Brown can no longer teach. The Browns no longer live in Hemet and, according to Soccio, "their relationship is strong and they're working to make repairs."

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