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Former middle school coach accepts plea deal in lewdness case

Updated Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2014 | 3:11 p.m.

A fired Las Vegas middle school teacher and coach accused of committing lewd acts has reached a plea agreement with Clark County prosecutors.

Alphonso Washington, a former girls’ basketball coach at Lied Middle School, had been charged with two counts of open and gross lewdness. But in an appearance today in Las Vegas Justice Court, Washington waived his right to a preliminary hearing and his case was bound over to District Court.

There, according to officials, Washington will accept a deal in which he will make an Alford plea to one count of open and gross lewdness. In exchange, the Clark County District Attorney’s Office will not oppose probation.

Courts treat an Alford plea as a guilty plea, but the defendant does not admit to the charges and asserts his innocence.

In May, detectives opened an investigation into allegations against a teacher at Lied Middle School, Metro Police said. In August, the Henderson resident was arrested.

The Clark County School District hired Washington in January 2003 and placed him on paid administrative leave when police opened the investigation, school spokeswoman Melinda Malone said. CCSD terminated Washington's employment on Sept. 30

Washington, 47 at the time of his arrest, most recently worked as a special-education teacher at Lied Middle School.

Washington was accused of touching a 14-year-old girl over her clothing on her buttocks and fiddling with the buttons on her jeans, said Washington's attorney Michael Gowdey.

Washington will have to register as a sex offender while on probation, if he's granted probation. If Washington successfully completes his probation, prosecutors will allow him to withdraw the Alford plea and instead plead to a gross misdemeanor charge of unlawful contact with a child. Since unlawful contact with a child is not a sex offense, Washington would no longer have to register as a sex offender.

Gowdey said the allegations against his client weren't strong, but the media attention and his status as a teacher made the situation tough for his client.

Washington was released from house arrest on his own recognizance.

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