NORWALK — The trial for a former Bellflower High School coach charged with molesting an underage family member over a period of several years could begin as early as next month.
Bryan E. Shepherd, 48, who is accused of molesting the girl over a five-year period, appeared briefly Wednesday morning at the Norwalk Superior Court for a pretrial conference.
Shepherd, who remains jailed in lieu of $1 million bail, was ordered to be returned to the court on Oct. 23, when a trial date is scheduled to begin within 15 days of that time.
If convicted as charged, he would face mandatory prison time, prosecutors said.
Shepherd was arrested in December by Los Angeles County Sheriff's investigators from the Special Victims Bureau. Detectives notified the Bellflower School District, where Shepherd worked as a part-time coach, at that time of the investigation and allegations, said Sheriff's Lt. Carlos Marquez.
The criminal complaint alleges Shepherd began molesting the girl when she was 13 in 2005 and that the abuse continued until she was 17, in 2010. Among the 20 felony counts are allegations of child molestation, oral copulation of a minor, sodomy of a minor, sexual penetration by a foreign object and unlawful sexual intercourse, court records show.
Marquez said the alleged crimes didn't occur at the school, where Shepherd worked for several years.
Bellflower Unified School District officials said Shepherd was a part-time coach who didn't teach at the school.
The girl "is a former student and had participated in basketball and track programs in which Mr. Shepherd coached," the district said in the statement. "Mr. Shepherd was released from his employment with the district for abandonment of his position. At this time, there are no allegations regarding any other students."