A volleyball coach, who sexually assaulted a 12-year-old girl while serving as an instructor at a summer volleyball camp at the University of San Diego, was sentenced Tuesday to six years in state prison.
Xia Wei Li, a 29 year old resident of Pacific Beach, pleaded guilty to two counts of committing a lewd act on a child under 14 and admitted an allegation of substantial sexual conduct. Li’s sentence was for molesting a 12-year-old San Bernardino girl in late July in a secluded outdoor area of campus.
The victim’s mother read a statement to Judge Theodore Weathers at sentencing in which she described her daughter as a “bubbly, gangly 12-year-old with a natural talent for volleyball” who has been forever changed by the attack. She and her husband were pleased to give her an opportunity to participate at the camp, but she came home a week later after having been seduced in a way that was “cruel, callous and degrading,” said the woman, whose name was withheld for privacy reasons. “Xia Wei Li turned an innocent girl’s excitement about volleyball and eagerness to please her coach into an opportunity to gratify his unhealthy lust for a gullible adolescent, with no thought for her as a child, a player or a human being,” she read. “As he told our daughter, he has done this type of thing more times than she could count.”
Li’s attorney didn’t dispute those words but said they were taken out of context.
According to the vicitm’s mother, while her daughter has been outwardly strong, in private she has “spent many hours sobbing,” won’t discuss details, and has expressed concerns about coaches and Asian men. “This has psychologically damaged a young girl and put a nice family in upheaval,” Deputy District Attorney Dan Link said.
Despite letters from friends and family in support of Li, the Judge said Li had taken advantage of his position of trust, and would have to spend 6 years in prison, and a lifetime as a registered sex offender.
Li coached for Epic Volleyball in Poway from 2006 through 2008, and Coast Volleyball in San Diego from 2008 to this year, and had been set to resume his post as junior varsity girls’ volleyball coach at La Jolla Country Day School this fall.