Ex-Dominguez High coach gets 60-day sentence

Former Compton Dominguez High boys basketball coach Russell Otis was sentenced Thursday to 60 days in jail for child molesting, probably ending the powerful reign of a man who directed his teams to five state championships and 10 California Interscholastic Federation Southern Section titles in 20 seasons.

Otis, 47, had been charged with misdemeanor child molesting, felony theft and forgery and a felony charge of meeting a minor for lewd purposes. He was convicted in November on the lesser charge.

Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Pat Connolly also imposed three years’ of probation, a year of counseling and mandatory lifetime registration as a sex offender to the sentence. Otis’ attorney, Leonard Levine, said he would appeal. Connolly ordered Otis released on bail pending an appeal.

Earlier, Connolly denied Levine’s request to have the conviction tossed out on the defense attorney’s claim that the judge “prejudiced” the jury by allowing it to consider two sex-related counts against Otis along with theft and forgery charges. The theft and forgery charges stemmed from a $15,000 check from Nike that the coach deposited into his own checking account. The check was made out to the Compton Unified School District. “The theft charges served to dirty his reputation,” Levine said. The judge disagreed.

The jury acquitted Otis on the theft-related counts and was unable to reach a verdict on the felony charge of meeting a minor for lewd purposes.