A former Santa Maria youth basketball coach accused of child molestation was sentenced to five years of felony probation and released from jail Monday.
Ramoan Blackmon, 39, must also register as a sex offender in the plea deal reached during the case.
Blackmon previously pleaded no contest in Santa Barbara County Superior Court to one count of lewd acts on a child age 14 or 15.
Initially, he faced four counts of engaging in lewd acts with a child, with allegations that some occurred when the victim was 13 or younger and others when she was 14 or older.
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The judge ordered the defendant not to contact the victim, referred to as Jane Doe, and to remain away from children unless immediate family members are present.
Blackmon’s prior conviction occurred in 2005, according to court records.
The former youth basketball coach also served as executive director of Cal Hoops Elite Basketball Academy.
The plea deal came weeks after the preliminary hearing where Judge Gustavo Lavayen determined enough evidence existed for a trial.
During the preliminary hearing, the victim recanted her story and said she made up the allegations. But the judge said he did not believe the teen.
Defense attorney Addison Steele said Blackmon weighed whether to risk if a jury would believe the girl made up the allegations and find him not guilty.
“In the end, he decided the best thing to do was to accept this resolution and move forward with his life,” Steele said. “He was put in the position where he could go home today, try and get back to work and support his family, or take the risk of sitting in jail a lot longer.”
If he had been convicted on all the charges, Blackmon could have faced up to 14 years in prison, Steele said.
Steele said it appears Blackmon has to start his life over and find a new way to make money to support his family, noting it’s not realistic for him to return to running basketball camps.
“This entire situation has been devastating to Ramoan and his family,” Steele said. “It is a tragedy all the way around.”