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Ex-Coach Convicted on 4 Sex Counts

June 20, 2002|MASSIE RITSCH | TIMES STAFF WRITER

A former basketball coach at Ribet Academy in Los Angeles was convicted Wednesday on four counts of having sex with a Glendale girl who played on his high school team.

A Superior Court jury in Pasadena found Paul Calvin Clark III, 34, not guilty on eight counts and it deadlocked on four counts.

Clark faces up to seven years in state prison for unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor under age 16, penetration with a foreign object and two counts of oral copulation. Sentencing is expected later this summer.

After deliberating since Monday, jurors told Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Michelle R. Rosenblatt they could not reach a unanimous verdict on four counts: one each for penetration and oral copulation and two for unlawful intercourse. So Rosenblatt declared a mistrial on those charges only.

The victim testified during the three-day trial that she willingly had sex with Clark seven times last year. She was 15 then and playing on his basketball team at Ribet Academy, a private school in the Glassell Park neighborhood of Los Angeles.

Clark did not testify. His attorney argued during the trial that two women who coached at Ribet resented Clark and coerced the girl to lie about the relationship.

After the verdict Wednesday, one juror said he and other jurors agreed Clark and the girl had some sort of sexual relationship.

But they could not fully match her testimony to statements she had made before the trial to investigators, during a preliminary hearing and during questioning by the other Ribet coaches, which the two women videotaped.

The girl "changed her story under various influences," said the juror, who would not give his name. "We didn't know where the influence took over versus where the facts took over."

The girl's parents said Wednesday that they were disappointed the jury did not find Clark guilty on all 16 counts.

Clark had been charged on 17 counts, but the judge dismissed one count after the girl testified.

The verdict, the girl's father said, was "not complete. He doesn't deserve that. He deserves more than that."

Given the jury's mixed verdict, Clark's attorney, Robert M. Bernstein, said he will petition for a new trial for his client on the four convictions.

Prosecutor Andrea Austin said the her office will consider asking for a new trial on the four counts on which the jury could not reach a unanimous verdict.

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