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Home blog Criminal Defense In the News Downey Teacher and Soccer Coach Pleads Not Guilty to 15 Counts of Sex with a Minor

Downey Teacher and Soccer Coach Pleads Not Guilty to 15 Counts of Sex with a Minor

By Michael Guisti on October 24, 2014

Downey, CA — Laws that place restrictions on children and teenagers are meant to protect them. For example, we make them wait until the age of 16 before they can obtain a driver’s license not just so that they can physically operate a motor vehicle, but also so that they can gain some small measure of personal experience and judgment before they do something so dangerous. The same logic is at work in consent laws. The age of consent varies by state, but its purpose is to protect teenagers from being victimized by predatory adults.

On Friday a teacher and girls soccer coach at Downey High School was arrested on suspicion of having sex with a minor. Brandon James Lee Hitchcock, 30, has pleaded not guilty to 15 criminal counts, 10 counts of unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor and 5 counts of oral copulation with a minor. Hitchcock allegedly carried out a sexual relationship with one of his students between March and October of this year while she was a junior and a senior.

Little information about the case has been publicly released, but the Los Angeles Times has cited unidentified sources who say that many of the sex acts were performed in Hitchcock’s classroom. Though he was held on $1 million bail before going to court, records show that Hitchcock was released from jail after pleading not guilty on Tuesday. He could be sentenced to up to 13 years in prison if he is convicted and would likely also have to register as a sex offender.

Stories about teachers taking advantage of their students are always troubling, but it is important to remember that our justice system places the burden of proof on the prosecution. Everyone who has been accused of a crime, no matter how vile and heinous it may be, is given the opportunity to defend themselves in court. The best move anyone can make when preparing a courtroom defense is to retain the services of a skilled and experienced criminal defense attorney.

At the Law Office of Michael L. Guisti, we’re dedicated to defending our clients’ rights in courtrooms across Southern California. In our 16 years of practicing law, we’ve helped hundreds of clients to have the charges against them reduced or dismissed in state and federal court. When you hire one of our award-winning legal professionals, you don’t just get the benefit of their years of training and experience, but you also get the benefit of a seasoned support staff who makes sure that our lawyers have all the resources they need to give our clients the best possible defense.

We were founded in Orange County and we know how wonderful and diverse its local community is. We are proud to offer service in Spanish, Chinese, and Korean in order to better serve our clients. We have offices in Garden Grove, Irvine, Santa Ana, and Newport Beach in order to be as convenient as possible for clients with cases in Orange County’s local courthouses. We’ve also helped clients resolve their legal issues in Los Angeles, Riverside, and San Diego counties.

So when you need an Orange County sex crime defense attorney who can give you tough, aggressive defense against any kind of criminal charge, call the Law Office of Michael L. Guisti at (714) 707-2797.


Bloom, Tracy and Wendy Burch. “Downey High School Teacher Pleads Not Guilty to Charges That He Had Sex With Student.” http://ktla.com/2014/10/22/downey-high-school-teacher-pleads-not-guilty-to-charges-that-he-had-sex-with-student/. KTLA 5. October 22, 2014.

Winton, Richard. “Downey teacher charged with having sex with student.” http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-downey-teacher-charged-sex-student-20141021-story.html. Los Angeles Times. October 21, 2014.

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