SAN DIEGO (CNS) - A Santee man accused of having sex with a 15-year-old girl he taught as a youth gymnastics coach in his East County hometown pleaded not guilty Thursday to 12 charges, including statutory rape.
Patrick Wehrung, 25, had posted $50,000 bail, but the bond was raised to $80,000 and he was taken back into custody. He faces up to seven years in state prison if convicted.
Deputy District Attorney Nicole Roth told reporters that Wehrung is charged with having sex with the teenage girl four times at La Jolla Shores Beach between December and January.
The girl told investigators that Wehrung picked her up at her home on several occasions and took her to the beach, where the crimes allegedly occurred.
The teenager had taken classes from Wehrung at Champion Gymnastics & Cheer on Prospect Avenue, where the defendant was employed until last week. The owner of the business fired Wehrung upon learning of the accusations against him, police said.
The girl admitted having a sexual relationship with the coach when her parents confronted her, according to San Diego police Lt. Sandra Albrektsen.
Judge Jay Bloom ordered Wehrung to stay away from the alleged victim.
A readiness conference was set for April 5 and a preliminary hearing for April 19.