LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — A swimming coach employed by the city of Commerce pleaded not guilty Thursday to sex-related charges involving a 7-year-old girl at an aquatic center.
Steven Matthew Garcia, 27, is being held on $950,000 bail on six counts of committing a lewd act on a child.
Prosecutors say Garcia fondled the girl on several occasions between October and this month in an employee lounge at the aquatic center and ordered her not to tell anyone.
“The type of conduct as alleged in this matter is reprehensible,” said City Administrator Jorge Rifa.
He said the city “took action immediately that led to the arrest of Garcia” by sheriff’s investigators. “This alleged conduct is not representative of the caliber and professionalism of Commerce employees who continue to provide exceptional public service every day.”
Garcia, who faces up to 14 years in state prison if convicted as charged, is scheduled to return to court on Feb. 1.
Anyone with information on the case or about Garcia can call the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Special Victim’s Bureau tip line at (877) 710-5273.
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