Amy Emerald

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

A former Sonora High School girls varsity basketball coach accused of sexually abusing a minor female student pleaded guilty on Monday in Tuolumne County Superior Court, said Assistant District Attorney Eric Hovatter.

Amy Emerald, 43, accepted a plea deal offered by the county District Attorney’s Office in which she admitted to a felony count of committing lewd acts upon child 15 years of age or older, a second felony count of sexual penetration with a foreign object upon a child 15 years of age or older, and a misdemeanor count of arranging a meeting with a minor for lewd purposes, Hovatter said.

Emerald will have to register as a sex offender and serve a year in county jail, five years of probation during which she can’t have contact with minors without adult supervision, complete 300 hours of work release, and pay court fines and restitution to the victim, Hovatter said.

The sentencing is scheduled for Aug. 3, and Hovatter said Judge Kevin Seibert indicated that Emerald will be taken into custody at that time.

Hovatter said the deal was offered to Emerald because the victim indicated that she didn’t want to testify if she could avoid it due to the embarrassment and trauma, as well as a desire to “show some grace to the defendant.”

“I believe a jury would have convicted, but my job is to listen to the victims and consider the victim’s position and the effect a trial would have on them,” he said. “I explained those to Judge Seibert and he went ahead and took the plea.”


More information on the case and Emerald’s plea will be in Wednesday’s Union Democrat.


Contact Alex MacLean at or (209) 768-5175.


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