ALHAMBRA (CBSLA.com) — An Olympic track star pleaded not guilty Tuesday to six counts for allegedly sending inappropriate messages to a female student at Gabrielino High School in San Gabriel, where he was a coach.
Danny Harris was charged with two counts each of contact with a minor for a sexual offense, child abuse and child annoyance, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office.
The 51-year-old Pasadena man was arrested Friday afternoon and remains behind bars.
He is due back in an Alhambra courtroom on June 16 for a hearing to determine if there is enough evidence for him to stand trial.
Prosecutors said Harris sent the inappropriate messages between April and May, and the girl’s family discovered the messages and alerted authorities.
Harris was fired as an assistant track coach at Gabrielino High School on May 17, said San Gabriel police Lt. Riki Nakamura.
“The police department has been working closely with the San Gabriel Unified School District following a report of alleged inappropriate contacts between the walk-on athletic coach and a district student,” according to Nakamura.
If convicted, Harris could face up to seven years in prison.
He won a silver medal in the 400-meter hurdles at the 1984 Olympics, finishing behind Edwin Moses.
Harris ended Moses’ 122-race winning streak in 1987. He has held the world junior record in the 400 meter hurdles since 1984.
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