Ex-high school coach pleads not guilty

Updated: April 13, 2010, 1:09 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

A former New York high school boys' basketball coach who won multiple city championships and coached players who went on to the NCAA and NBA, including Los Angeles Lakers guard Lamar Odom, pleaded not guilty to charges he raped a 14-year-old boy on a visit to Boston in 1976.

Bob Oliva, 65, pleaded not guilty Monday in Suffolk County District Court in Massachusetts to two counts of child rape and a count of disseminating pornography to a minor. He was indicted last month.

He was released on $10,000 bail and ordered to have no contact with the alleged victim or anyone under the age of 16.

Oliva, considered one of the pre-eminent high school coaches in the New York area for nearly three decades, won 549 games and five city championships in 27 seasons at Christ the King Regional High School, located in Queens. He stepped down last season, citing health problems stemming from the accusations.

Prosecutors said the alleged crimes occurred on or about July 30 to Aug. 1, 1976, at a Boston hotel, when Oliva brought the boy, Jimmy Carlino, to Boston to see a New York Yankees-Boston Red Sox doubleheader.

Carlino, now 48 and living in Florida, reported the alleged assault to Boston police last year.

Oliva's attorney, Michael Doolin, said the former coach "looks forward to his day in court. He looks forward to being found not guilty of these charges."

Prosecutors said Carlino was a family friend who did not play for Oliva at Christ the King.

Carlino's civil attorney, Mitchell Garabedian, said Carlino is testifying against Oliva "so the truth is revealed and to make the world a safer place for children."

Massachusetts prosecutors said they were able to prosecute the 34-year-old case because the statute of limitations remained frozen while Oliva was living outside of the state.

A tentative trial date was set for May 2011.

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