Ex-Dominguez coach Otis found guilty of misdemeanor sex charges
– Nick Koza for Sentinel
He was acquitted of two felonies, hung jury on felony sex charge
Former Dominguez High School basketball coach Russell Otis was found guilty Tuesday of misdemeanor child molestation but acquitted on felony charges of grand theft and forgery.
On the felony charge of meeting a minor for a lewd purpose, the jury was deadlocked 10-2 in favor of a conviction.
Otis, who also served as the school’s athletic director, had been accused of molesting a former player last year along with sending him lewd text messages. The player transferred after the 2007-08 season and Otis was placed on paid administrative leave by the Compton Unified School District.
He had also been charged with depositing a $15,000 check from Nike to the school District into his personal account.
It took the jury 12 days before announcing their verdict in a Los Angles County Superior Court Room. The trial had begun on October 1.
Otis had coached at Dominguez since 1987 and built them into a national power during the mid-1990’s. The Dons would win 10 Southern Section and six state championships from 1996-2007.
He would coach future McDonald’s All-Americans and NBA players Tyson Chandler and Tayshaun Prince as well as send several players to Division I schools, most recently Jordan Hamilton (Texas).
This is not the first time Otis was charged with similar crimes. In 2001, he was acquitted on charges of molesting a former player and was back coaching at the school for the 2002-03 season.
A hearing has been set for December 1 to decide if the prosecutors will attempt to retry Otis on the felony sex charge. His attorneys will also announce their appeal that date.
No date for sentencing was announced at press time.