A former girls basketball coach at Southeast High School near Torrington, could face prison time for allegedly having sex with a 16-year-old student in May.

Michael Henry Booth, 36, pleaded not guilty Nov. 16 in Goshen County District Court to one count of third-degree sexual abuse of a minor by a person in a position of authority.

The charge specifies that Booth had been the victim's basketball coach when the two had sex. Booth could face up to 15 years imprisonment if convicted.

Charging papers say on Oct. 17, investigators with the Goshen County Sheriff's Department interviewed Booth at the Goshen County Law Library.

Booth reportedly said he had since resigned as girls basketball coach, but "wanted to confess to something he had done," according to the affidavit of probable cause.

Booth allegedly said he had met with one of his players, who was 16 years old at the time, in the Pavilion parking lot at the Goshen County Fairgrounds. Booth, who was 35 years old at the time of the alleged crime, then had sex with the victim in her pickup.

According to court documents, Booth said he knew what he did was wrong. He said it happened sometime in early May, between May 8 and May 14.

On Oct. 18, investigators interviewed the victim, who confirmed Booth had been her basketball coach. She said she "felt pressured by [Booth] to have sexual intercourse with him."

She corroborated the details and the timeframe, court documents say. The victim also said that in June, Booth took her to a basketball camp and told her that he was having marital problems.

An arrest warrant for Booth was issued Oct. 20. Booth was arrested the following day.

Court records show a pretrial conference is set for the morning of March 19. The two-day trial is scheduled to begin April 16 before District Judge Patrick W. Korell.

Booth remains free on $20,000 bond.

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