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Santa Maria Youth Basketball Coach Will Face Trial on Molestation Charges

A man who served as a youth basketball coach will face trial on child-molestation charges, despite the fact his alleged victim recanted her claims in court on Monday.

At the end of a three-hour preliminary hearing, Santa Barbara County Superior Court Judge Gustavo Lavayen ruled that there is sufficient evidence for Ramoan Blackmon to stand trial. 

Blackmon, executive director of Cal Hoops Elite Basketball Academy, is charged with four counts of lewd and lascivious acts on a child, with allegations some occurred when the alleged victim was 13 or younger and others when she was 14 or older.  

With the girl claiming she lied about the molestation, Lavayen said it became apparent the preliminary hearing’s outcome would require judgment about the girl’s credibility.

“Considering all of the circumstances together and considering her testimony and demeanor in today’s hearing, at this time I do not find that her recantation is credible, so I’m going to hold Mr. Blackmon to answer,” the judge said. 

The girl testified about first telling her school counselor on Nov. 16 about Blackmon’s inappropriate touches, repeating the story to police officers.

But she claimed Monday she had lied, saying she wanted attention. She recalled a friend’s personal problems in seventh-grade.

“I wanted the feeling she had. Sorry,” she said. “I craved it.”

Crying through a  lot of her testimony, the girl at one point sobbed, putting her head onto her arm.

She told police Blackmon touched her breast, buttocks and vagina at different times.

Several times the girl answered with “I don’t remember” to many questions from Deputy District Attorney Brandon Jebens, 

The prosecutor asked if the girl told an officer that Blackmon had touched her on Nov. 16 and that she had decided to speak up to end the molestation.

“Yeah, I think I said that,” she said.

Later, under questioning from Deputy Public Defender Addison Steele, the girl responded with “untrue” or “false” to questions about her accusations to police. 

“Why did you tell him that untrue thing?” Steele asked.

“I don’t know why I do it. It’s just I crave that attention from people,” she said, denying she distanced herself from Blackmon

In later testimony, the girl said that as a seventh-grader she first told a friend about the alleged molestation. 

She also denied she was encouraged to change her story. 

After the preliminary hearing, the defense attorney asked the judge to reduce Blackmon’s $100,000 bail, a request opposed by Jebens.

Blackmon has remained in Santa Barbara County Jail since his arrest.

The defendant was accused of having sex with a minor and other charges in 2004, but the charges were reduced to a misdemeanor in a plea in 2005.

Steele said his client successfully petitioned the court in 2011 to have the charge dismissed. 

The judge denied the bail-reduction request before setting Blackmon's arraignment hearing on the charges for Jan. 3.

Noozhawk North County editor Janene Scully can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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