Amy Emerald

Amy Emerald walks to the Tuolumne County Superior Courthouse on Washington Street in Sonora for a hearing Friday morning.

The trial for the former Sonora High School varsity girls basketball coach accused of sexually abusing a minor female student was set for June 10 in Tuolumne County Superior Court Monday.

Amy Denise Emerald, 42, pleaded not guilty at an arraignment hearing to felony charges of a lewd act upon a child, oral copulation of a minor, two counts of sexual penetration by a foreign object and misdemeanor charge of arranging to meet a minor for lewd purposes.

According to court records, Emerald waived her right to a preliminary hearing on Jan. 21. 

Emerald has remained out of custody on bail since her arrest on July 29, 2019.

She was silent beside her attorney, Kirk McAllister of Modesto, through the duration of the 10-minute hearing. After it ended, she and a group of people conferred with McAllister outside the courtroom.

Emerald pleaded not guilty to an amended criminal complaint which was updated for the arraignment hearing to indicate that the oral copulation charge occured in Tuolumne County, said Tuolumne County Deputy District Attorney Cassandra Jenecke. 

Jenecke estimated the trial would last at least six days.

Jenecke was representing the prosecution on Monday in the absence of Assistant District Attorney Eric Hovatter. 

Tuolumne County Superior Court Judge Kevin Seibert set a readiness conference for May 4. 

The trial date was postponed from April 29 after Seibert left the courtroom, presumably to check a calendar.

When Seibert returned, he said “that week won’t work.” 

Court records indicated the alleged crimes took place between 2013 and 2014 in Tuolumne County and Sacramento County when the confidential female victim was 15. 

The girl was enrolled at Sonora High School at the time and participated in high school sports, Sheriff’s Office officials said previously.  

According to Union Democrat records, Emerald was hired by Sonora High School as junior varsity girls basketball coach in 2001. High school officials previously stated she was on administrative leave. 


Contact Giuseppe Ricapito at (209) 588-4526 or Follow him on Twitter @g_ricapito 


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