Ex-Santana High school track coach pleads not guilty to lewd acts with underage student

Posted at 4:20 PM, Jul 21, 2016
and last updated 2016-07-21 19:20:54-04

EL CAJON, Calif. - A former Santana High School track coach accused of engaging in sexual activity with an underage student pleaded not guilty Thursday to five charges, including a felony count of luring a juvenile in order to commit lewd acts.

Keith Alan Silvia, 49, faces four years and four months in state prison if convicted, said Deputy District Attorney Aidee Brunner. Silvia is also charged with four misdemeanor counts of molesting a minor.

Last month, the parents of the alleged victim -- a junior at the Magnolia Avenue campus -- found letters from Silvia in the girl's backpack, Lt. Dan Brislin said. The couple reported the discovery to school administrators, who in turn notified the sheriff's department.

Silvia turned himself in July 14.

"Detectives conducted an investigation and discovered that Silvia fostered an intimate relationship with the victim and arranged more than one off-campus meeting, (during which) they engaged in inappropriate physical contact," the lieutenant alleged.

Silvia, who also worked as a campus supervisor at the high school, subsequently resigned from his job there, according to Catherine Martin, spokeswoman for Grossmont Union High School District.

The defendant, who is free on $100,000 bail, will be back in court Sept. 6 for a readiness conference and Sept. 28 for a preliminary hearing.