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Thomas pleads no contest in sex trial

Former coach faces 6 years

Posted: November 6, 2008 3:48 p.m.
Updated: November 6, 2008 4:11 p.m.

Kevin Lamont Thomas, who was charged with having illegal sexual relations with four Hart district students, pleaded no contest to three charges in Van Nuys Superior Court Thursday and faces up to six years in state prison, a district attorney's official said.

 
UPDATED: 9 p.m.
Kevin Lamont Thomas, who was charged with having illegal sexual relations with four Hart district students, pleaded no contest to three charges in Van Nuys Superior Court Thursday and faces up to six years in state prison, a district attorney’s official said.

Thomas pleaded no contest to felony counts of sexual penetration of a minor with a foreign object and sexual intercourse with a minor and a misdemeanor count of child molestation, said Shiara M. Davila, Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office spokeswoman.

Prosecutors are expected to drop the remaining 14 charges during the Nov. 21 sentencing hearing, Davila added.

Tension filled the Division 112 court room in Van Nuys Thursday, said Alisanne Scolnik, deputy district attorney. “It was a very emotional day. Three of the victims showed up to court,” she said.

The plea ends a five-month court battle, but the ordeal for the victims date back even
further, Scolnik said.

The sexual abuse happened over a seven-month period between November 2007 and June 2008.
Thomas’ daughter, a former standout basketball player at Hart High School, earned a basketball scholarship in 2007.

He promised sports scholarships to lure high school girls to private basketball lessons, said Detective Dennis Derr of the Los Angeles Police Department. Those lessons turned sexual, he said.

Thomas was arrested June 12 and charged with five counts of sexual penetration of a person under the age of 18, five counts of sexual penetration of an unconscious person with a foreign object, one count of performing a lewd act on a child and one count of possession of child pornography.

Scolnik offered Thomas a deal Sept. 18. But his attorney, Robert Nadler, balked at the offer to avoid sending Thomas to state prison, Scolnik said.

Nadler and Thomas didn’t know that the District Attorney later received more evidence against Thomas, Scolnik said.

A letter from the victims arrived on Derr’s desk Sept. 18 describing Thomas’ alleged sexual misconduct against four female William S. Hart Union High School District students. Derr was on the campus of two Hart district high schools Sept. 24 interviewing three of four alleged victims, the detective said.

The fourth alleged victim was interviewed at her home.

Scolnik listed five additional charges against Thomas Oct. 17, including: two felony counts of sexual intercourse with a minor involving the same alleged victim and three misdemeanor counts of annoying or molesting a minor involving three other alleged victims.

The plea and impending jail time strike a serious blow to Thomas, Davila said. “He is prohibited from contact with any minor girls (involved) in the investigation,” she said.

Thomas is also prohibited from any contact with any girl he coached. Those conditions are in effect during his time in jail and during his parole period, Davila said.

The length of his parole is up to the parole board.

Thomas is barred from coaching minors for life and also must register as a sex offender, Davila said.

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