File photo.
File photo.

A former girls’ basketball coach at Mark Keppel High School in Alhambra pleaded not guilty Monday to sex-related counts involving a female student.

Joseph Alan Kikuchi, 56, of Monterey Park, is facing 13 felony counts of sexual penetration by a foreign object, five counts of committing a lewd act on a child and one count of oral copulation of a person under 16, along with five misdemeanor counts of child molestation.

He is due back in court Feb. 24, when a date is expected to be set for a hearing to determine whether there is sufficient evidence to proceed to trial.

Kikuchi was the girls’ varsity basketball coach at the high school at the time of the alleged crimes, which occurred between February and September of last year, according to Deputy District Attorney Rena Durrant.

Police said an Alhambra Unified School District administrator heard a rumor regarding an intimate relationship allegedly occurring between a student and her basketball coach and asked police to investigate.

“The investigation showed that on numerous occasions over the last year, there was unlawful sexual contact between the coach and the female player,” Alhambra police Sgt. Jerry Johnson alleged.

Kikuchi resigned his coaching post last Sept. 15. He was released on $100,000 bond following his Sept. 24 arrest and then posted a higher bond when his bail was increased to $1.47 million on Oct. 23.

At Kikuchi’s October bail hearing, Durrant read aloud threatening texts allegedly sent by the defendant to the girl. The player had allegedly tried to break off the relationship more than once, prompting the texts, including one that read, “Don’t piss me off. If you do this, I will move up other girls” and “Don’t push me, cuz I’ll get ugly,” the Los Angeles Times reported.

If convicted as charged, Kikuchi faces up to 20 years in state prison and lifetime sex offender registration, according to the District Attorney’s Office.

—City News Service

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