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SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA / A news summary

Coach Expected to Plead Not Guilty to Sex Charges

November 28, 2000

COMPTON — A high school basketball coach is expected to plead not guilty to three sex charges at an arraignment today.

Russell Otis, the 38-year-old coach of the Dominguez High School boys team, was charged Nov. 17 with felony counts of sodomy by use of force and oral copulation during an October encounter with a 17-year-old player at his Carson townhouse. The coach also faces a charge of misdemeanor child molestation stemming from a separate incident with the same player this fall.

The accusing player, a senior, has transferred to another school. His family has asked that the name of the school not be disclosed.

If he is convicted, Otis, whose teams have won four state championships, could go to state prison for more than nine years.

Otis' lawyer, Leonard B. Levine, said that Otis will enter a plea and make a brief public statement, but will not answer questions from reporters.

"Coach Otis adamantly denies any wrongdoing, and we're confident that his innocence will be completely established," Levine said last week. "Hopefully, we'll find out what the motive behind these allegations is."

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