News briefs: Former fencing coach pleads guilty
Published - 09/19/12 - 03:35 PM | 3630 views | 0 0 comments | 3 3 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Former fencing coach pleads guilty

A former fencing coach at La Jolla Country Day School pleaded guilty Sept. 13 to molesting one girl from the school and another girl in 2002.

An agreed-upon sentence of five years in prison will be given to Vijay Prasad, 51, of Carmel Valley on Nov. 16, said Deputy District Attorney Elizabeth McClutchey.

Prasad had been free on $200,000 bond until the second case was filed against him on Aug. 2 and he was arrested at the courthouse. He remains in the George Bailey Detention Facility without bail.

Prasad admitted to committing two lewd acts and oral copulation with his former student in 2005 when she was 14 and 15 years old, according to court records. The fencing program was given after school and Prasad no longer works there.

Prasad admitted to molesting the other girl in 2002 when she was 14, records say. The prosecutor said she couldn’t go into how Prasad met the victim in 2002, but she is not believed to have been a student at the La Jolla school.

The guilty pleas meant that neither victim, both of whom are now adults, had to come to court and testify.

— Neal Putnam

Bail set for alleged CVS kidnapper

Bail was set at $750,000 Sept. 14 for a man suspected of kidnapping two college students in La Jolla and taking them to a bank ATM where they were forced to withdraw money.

The incident occurred Sept. 11 around 11 p.m. when the students left the CVS Pharmacy on Villa La Jolla Drive. A man with what appeared to be a pistol ordered them to get into the back seat of their own car and took some money from the woman’s purse (the male victim had no cash).

The suspect, later identified as Miguel Torres Espinoza, 29, of San Diego, allegedly forced Raymond Chung and Jessica Liu, both 20, to drive to Pacific Beach and withdraw cash from an ATM at Garnet Avenue and Soledad Mountain Road.

The robber got $420 in cash, including what cash Liu had on her. Espinoza fled on foot and the couple called police, who found Espinoza a few blocks away on Loring Street around midnight.

Deputy District Attorney Jalyn Wang said Espinoza had the stolen money in his possession. The pistol turned out to be a gun replica.

Espinoza pleaded not guilty Friday to two counts of kidnapping for robbery and two counts of robbery. The kidnapping charge carries a life term that includes parole, and, if convicted, he could receive two consecutive life terms in prison.

San Diego Superior Court Judge David Szumowski set a preliminary hearing for Sept. 27. Espinoza remains in custody.

— Neal Putnam
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