Students betrayed by coach | NevadaAppeal.com

Students betrayed by coach

by Teri Vance, Appeal Staff Writer

Desi Navarro, right, the former Dayton High School girls' basketball coach listens to the proceedings on Wednesday afternoon in Dayton Justice Court, with his attorney Ken Ward, left. Navarro faces felony charges for allegedly having sex with a 16-year-old student.

DAYTON — The pregnant wife of a former girls basketball coach accused of having sex with one of his players asked the court to show mercy during his arraignment in Dayton Justice Court on Wednesday.

But players from the Dayton High School team said they are “disgusted” with Desi Navarro’s behavior and hope for a strict punishment.

Navarro, 26, is accused of having sex with a 16-year-old student on his team on at least three occasions from October 2001 to February 2002 — once in the girl’s bedroom and twice in a car.

“He belongs in jail,” said student Natalie Malekos, 16. “We put our trust in him and we depended on him and he broke it. If he gets away with this, then anyone who breaks the law should be able to get away with it.”

Eight players attended the hearing.

During the arraignment, attorney Ken Ward asked Judge William Rogers to release Navarro, who has never been taken into custody on the charge, without bail.

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“He realizes he made an error in judgment,” Ward said. “If ever there was a client who would be a no-risk for release on his own recognizance, he’s sitting here before you today. He’s here to face the music.”

However, Judge Rogers set bail for $5,000, prohibiting Navarro from contacting the victim or her family and restricting him from supervising children under 18 unless family members are present.

“The most egregious part of this is the violation of public trust,” Rogers said. “That is what makes this conduct simply unacceptable.”

Navarro’s wife Tammy, who coached junior varsity girls basketball, made an emotional plea to the court to release him without bail.

She testified that she and her husband are in counseling and hope to make their marriage work. She explained the income from his business where he is self-employed is essential since she is on modified bed rest during a difficult pregnancy.

She said the couple is “slowly getting over it,” and testified Navarro would not run if released.

“He’s facing the consequences of what’s occurred here,” she said. “This is our home.”

Tammy Navarro is a Dayton High School graduate and Desi Navarro was born and raised in Carson City, elected Carson High homecoming king in 1994.

The two were married in September 2000 and live in Carson City.

His parents, Dave and Gloria Navarro, were also in the courtroom to support him. They declined to comment, saying Ward had advised against speaking to reporters.

Christy Fox, 18, one of the basketball players, said Navarro betrayed the students on more than one level. She said several players confronted him about his flirting with one player and in a 2 a.m. meeting after a tournament, he denied all accusations.

She said he threatened to suspend three players for voicing their suspicions.

“Needless to say, we have no respect for him,” she said.

A law passed four years ago makes is a felony crime for any adult employed by a school district to have sex with a student, although the legal age of consent in Nevada is 16.

Navarro is facing up to 15 years in prison.

Navarro’s preliminary hearing will be 10:30 a.m. Aug. 21 in Dayton Justice Court.