Former Lake Washington High School boys basketball coach Barry Johnson pleaded not guilty Tuesday morning in Kirkland Municipal Court to a charge of communicating with a minor for immoral purposes.
Johnson, 38, who was suspended as coach in March in the middle of the basketball season after a complaint by a 16-year-old female student, is scheduled for a pretrial hearing on June 4. The charge, filed after an investigation by the Kirkland Police Department, is a gross misdemeanor.
Johnson, a well-liked coach who had also been an instructional assistant at the school, disputed the allegations but resigned on March 13.
According to a report in The Seattle Times, the conduct in question began with a hug in September, and the student complained in an email about repeated unwelcomed comments by Johnson.
"I want to preface this by saying that I would NEVER make false accusations of any kind toward anybody for any reason, and certainly not accusations of this magnitude," the Times said the student wrote in the email. "I also want to say that if this had been a situation in which I felt I could have just said 'stop,' then I would have just said 'stop.' But, after three months, countless hints that it was not OK, several outbursts exclaiming that it was not OK, and no change in behavior, I kind of came to the conclusion that 'stop' just wasn't going to cut it."
For the full report in the Times, click here.