Famous Hoops Coach Russell Otis Faces Sex Charges

Published October 26, 2009

A legendary California high school basketball coach could be convicted today of trying to pay one of his players for sexual favors.

Jury deliberations resume in the trial of Russell Otis, accused of offering a 16-year-old $1,500 to “experiment” with the boy, who played for Compton Dominguez. The accuser, known as “Kevin S.,” recently testified that Otis, 47, drove to the teenager’s house last fall, inviting Kevin out to his car.

“He showed me a stack of money in the ashtray,” Kevin said. “He said I can have all this if I would do the experiment with him.”

The teen says he turned down the offer, but accepted $100 from Otis, who allegedly gave him the money to keep him quiet.

Previously known as the varsity coach who built Compton Dominguez into one of California’s top hoops programs, Otis was fired after the alleged incident last August. Otis’ son testified that his father never left the house on the date of the allegations.

Between 1987 and 2008, Otis led the school to five state titles, but his trial is the second time since 2000 that he has faced similar charges. Otis was re-hired at Compton Dominguez after losing his job when another player and current trial witness “Dontae C.” accused his coach of sexual assault. Otis was acquitted of the charges, but prosecutors called on Dontae, now 26, to testify again, in hopes of painting Otis as a predator toward players.

Defense lawyer Leonard Levine tore into Dontae about alleged inconsistencies in Dontae’s testimony since the first trial.

“I was 17 years old, I was scared and nervous,” Dontae testified. “I’m a grown man today.”

“What about this man’s life [which] is at stake?” Levine asked, referring to Otis.

“What about my life?” the witness shouted. “How about that?”

Both of the former players testified that Otis had been exceptionally kind and giving toward them. Dontae said that Otis raped him following multiple visits to Otis’ house where Dontae had played video games and watched porn.

Another accusation that Otis faces is that he deposited a $15,000 check from Nike, meant for the hoops program, into his personal account.

Current accuser Kevin S. says he told authorities after asking to be transferred to a different school, causing his family to get suspicious. Otis offered to approve the transfer, Kevin alleges, if the player changed his story. Kevin no longer attends Dominguez.

When the teen sent a text message wishing his coach a happy birthday, Otis replied, “I don't need your wishes for me,” Kevin testified.

“I got upset because he got mad that I wouldn’t let him touch me,” added Kevin. “I told him I told my granny, and then he started crying.”

The jury re-convenes this morning.

 

Written by <P>By Eddie Allen, Jr.</P> <P>&nbsp;</P>

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