High School Athletic Trainer Pleads Not Guilty to Sex-Related Counts

Judge office.

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VAN NUYS (CNS) - An athletic trainer who worked at two San Fernando Valley high schools pleaded not guilty Friday to sex-related counts involving 12 teenage girls.

Richard Alexander Turner, 64, is charged with eight counts of sexual battery by fraud, seven counts of sexual penetration by use of force involving a minor over 14, four counts of sexual penetration of an unconscious person by fraudulent representation and one count each of forcible rape of a child over 14 and forcible oral copulation of a minor over 14.

Turner -- who had worked at Birmingham Community Charter High School and Van Nuys High School -- was ordered to remain jailed in lieu of nearly $2.3 million bail.

He was initially charged Sept. 27 with 18 counts involving 10 alleged victims, but prosecutors subsequently added two more counts involving another two student athletes along with an additional count involving one of the previous alleged victims.

"The unconsciousness in this particular case really refers to the fact that they may not have immediately been aware that they were being sexually molested," District Attorney George Gascón told reporters at a news conference in September announcing the charges against Turner. "There have been some cases where force was used as well."

The latest criminal complaint alleges that the crimes occurred between 2017 and this September.

The district attorney said in September that Turner allegedly assaulted the student athletes, who were seeking rehabilitation and recovery from sports injuries.

"Some of the alleged assaults occurred on campus, while other incidents took place outside of the school setting," Gascón said.

Turner was initially arrested Sept. 20 by Los Angeles police after a Birmingham student reported to a school official that he had inappropriately touched her while she sought treatment for an injury, according to Los Angeles Police Department Capt. Jeff Bratcher, commanding officer of the Juvenile Division.

Detectives subsequently located a crime report from 2017 in which another student had reported that Turner inappropriately touched her after she reported an injury while practicing basketball at Van Nuys High School, the LAPD captain said.

That case was rejected in 2017 by the District Attorney's Office, which cited a lack of sufficient evidence to prove the case, Bratcher said.

"The reports made by both of these victims were similar and we sought the media's help in locating witnesses or other victims," Bratcher told reporters. "In the days following, several minors reported that they had been touched inappropriately by the suspect," Bratcher said.

Turner was re-arrested Sept. 22, hours after he had been released on bond.

He is due back in a Van Nuys courtroom Feb. 2. A date is scheduled to be set then for a hearing to determine whether there is sufficient evidence to allow the case against him to proceed to trial.

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