UCSD Recreational Fencing Coach Accused of Sexual Assault

Vijay Prasad, a fencing instructor affiliated with the UCSD recreation department, is under investigation for sexually abusing a 15-year-old student in 2005.

The student — now 21 — came forward on March 18 regarding the alleged sexual abuse that happened five years ago. In a search warrant document, she was quoted as saying she “began to feel guilty that Prasad may have victimized other students,” and was experiencing depression, anxiety and nightmares. The student, who was attending La Jolla Country Day School at the time of alleged sexual abuse, told local police Prasad sexually assaulted her about 50 to 70 times in his black BMW sedan.

She took fencing classes from Prasad, who is now 49 years old. According to the CBS Channel 8 News, Prasad is currently on leave.

Prasad was her coach in an extracurricular fencing club at La Jolla Country Day School and would often drive her to fencing classes at UCSD’s Main Gym after club activities.

According to the warrant, the student said that, during these trips, he would stop the car at a parking garage underneath the La Jolla Village Square shopping mall and engage in sexual activities with her.

A statement released by La Jolla Country Day School to CBS Channel 8 News said that Prasad worked for the school’s fencing club, La Jolla Golden Blades, from 2002 to 2007.

“Country Day policy prohibits coaches from transporting individual students for school events,” the statement read. “However, club programs operate independently of the school and may allow different arrangements at the parents’ discretion.”

Prasad was not a university employee, but worked within an after-school club program funded by participating families, using Country Day and UCSD facilities.

“We can confirm that Prasad was a volunteer at UC San Diego and is no longer a volunteer,” UCSD spokesperson Christine Clark wrote in a statement.

Two weeks ago, the police seized a black BMW sedan owned by Prasad while searching his house in Carmel Valley. Kerry Steigerwalt, Prasad’s defense attorney, said in a telephone interview with CBS that there is no evidence to support the allegations.

Forensic DNA expert Mary Pierson told Channel 8 News that it could still be possible to find evidence supporting the allegations.

“This is in a vehicle so [bodily fluids are] dried on the seat, and I understand there were many episodes of sexual activity, so there may be a great chance to find DNA on that seat cover,” Pierson said.

Prasad has not yet been charged, but investigations are ongoing.

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