Not guilty plea entered by fencing coach who taught classes at La Jolla Country Day School in sex abuse case


City News Service

A man who coached an after-school fencing program on La Jolla Country Day School’s campus pleaded not guilty Feb. 2 to sex abuse charges stemming from an alleged inappropriate relationship with a high school student.

Vijay Prasad -- who remains jailed in lieu of $200,000 bail -- faces 11 years in state prison if convicted.

According to published reports, the defendant was a coach in charge of youth fencing classes in the recreation department at UCSD.

The alleged sexual abuse began when the girl was 15, and the victim came forward five years after the alleged sex acts.

Prasad, 50, was charged Tuesday with 13 counts, including sodomy of a person under 16 by a person over 21 and lewd act on a child 14 or 15 years of age.

No new details were revealed at the Feb. 2 arraignment. Prosecutor Elizabeth McClutchey and defense attorney Thomas Warwick talked to Judge David Szumowski about the case at sidebar, outside of earshot of others in the courtroom.

Szumowski denied the prosecutor’s request to increase Prasad’s bail, but told the defendant to surrender his passport by Monday.

A readiness conference was scheduled for Feb. 23 and a preliminary hearing for March 15.