By MIKEY HIRANO CULROSS, Rafu Sports Editor
ALHAMBRA.–Thursday’ preliminary hearing in the sexual misconduct case of former high school basketball coach Joseph Kikuchi took a turn toward resolution, when his defense lawyer suggested the possibility of a plea deal.
Attorney Mia Yamamoto would not elaborate on any such agreement, other than to say she and Deputy District Attorney Rena Durrant will meet sometime this month to discuss any possible offer. A hearing to update the court on those discussions is set for May 23. On that date, Kikuchi can accept any proposed plea deal or decide to pursue a trial.
A preliminary hearing scheduled for June 7 will continue as planned if no plea agreement is reached this month.
Kikuchi is facing 24 counts related to an alleged sexual relationship with one if his Keppel players, an affair that began when the girl was 15 years old. The celebrated coach resigned his position in September and the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office brought the charges in October. If convicted, Kikuchi could face decades in jail and registration as a sex offender.