Former coach pleads not guilty to sexual relations with student

A former high school basketball coach charged with having an ongoing unlawful sexual relationship with a student pleaded not guilty Thursday.

Fountain Valley resident John Tran Nguyen, 21, pleaded not guilty to one felony count of unlawful sexual intercourse and one misdemeanor count of domestic violence battery, according to the Orange County district attorney's office. He faces a maximum of three years in state prison if convicted and is out on $20,000 bail.

His pre-trial is scheduled April 26, said spokeswoman Farrah Emami.

Nguyen is accused of meeting and grooming a 14-year-old girl while working under contract as an assistant girls' basketball coach at Los Amigos High School in Fountain Valley, prosecutors said.

He is accused of taking her out on dates and having unlawful sex with her in December 2010 and afterward.

School officials contacted Fountain Valley police in January when the girl reported that Nguyen slapped her during an argument in his car right before school, according to prosecutors.

He was arrested Jan. 20.

—Mona Shadia

Twitter: @MonaShadia

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