La Jolla Fencing Coach Accused of Lewd Acts Pleads Not Guilty

Vijay Prasad was charged with 13 counts, including sodomy of a person under 16

By Matt Lewis and Lauren Steussy
|  Thursday, Feb 2, 2012  |  Updated 3:52 PM PDT
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Coach Accused of Lewd Acts Pleads Not Guilty

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A former fencing coach at La Jolla Country Day School has pleaded not guilty for allegedly carrying on an inappropriate relationship with a student.

On Tuesday, 50-year-old Vijay Prasad was charged 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.

La Jolla Country Day School officials said Prasad was not an employee but coached an after-school fencing program on school grounds.

He faces 11 years in prison if convicted.

The arraignment comes in the same week that Los Angeles County Sheriff's department arrested 61-year-old Mark Berndt after a film technician processed distubing photos of children blindfolded with tape over their mouths.

He is accused of committing lewd acts to two dozen boys and girls over a period of five years.

On Wednesday, a sheriff's department investigation revealed that Berndt was investigated in 1994 for an alleged fondling incident. The LA County Sheriff's Department found that a girl, who was 10 or 11-years-old at the time, said Berndt tried to touch her inappropriately over her clothing.

The allegation was rejected by the District Attorney in Los Angeles at the time.

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