Prosecutors say they have tens of thousands of text messages supporting the charges that former Mark Keppel High School basketball coach Joseph Alan Kikuchi sexually abused a player on his team from February to September.
Los Angeles Deputy Dist. Atty. Rena Durrant told a judge about the texts at a Friday hearing at the Los Angeles Superior Court's Alhambra Courthouse.
One message read, "Don't piss me off. If you do this, I will move up other girls," according to Durrant. That was referring to the other girls on the basketball team, she said. He allegedly threatened to take a number of clothing items from her, and demanded that she give a pair of shoes back to him. "I'll make sure we are enemies," Durrant said the texts from Kikuchi read. "Don't push me, cuz I'll get ugly as ..., ok? Don't push me!!"
His arraignment was scheduled for Friday. Kikuchi was supposed to plead guilty, not guilty or no contest to 24 counts of sexual abuse and child molestation. The judge agreed to postpone the arraignment hearing until Dec. 1. Geller said he recently received many discovery documents, and remains in conversation with the prosecutors about the case.
He is charged with 13 counts of sexual penetration by a foreign object, five counts of lewd acts upon a child, five misdemeanor counts of child molestation, and one count of oral copulation of a person under 16.
Kikuchi has had no contact with the alleged victim or others related to the case since the initial search warrant on Sept. 16, Geller told the judge.
The allegations have stunned the close-knit Asian American basketball community, which sponsors numerous leagues involving more than 10,000 players throughout Southern California. Kikuchi was a well-known and respected coach who has worked with hundreds of boys and girls over nearly 40 years of volunteering with teams involved in the Japanese American Optimist Club's girls league, the CYC Basketball boys league, the San Gabriel Valley Basketball Club and other organizations. A number of community members came to the courthouse to support Kikuchi, but they declined to discuss the case or provide their names.