Coach accused of sexual battery takes the stand Friday

Coach accused of sexual battery takes the stand Friday

HANCOCK COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - Testimony has ended in an alleged Hancock County teacher-student sex trial.

Leslie Danielle DeWitt is accused of having a sexual relationship with the female player when she was an assistant basketball coach at Hancock high in 2009 and 2010.

Friday, DeWitt took the stand in her own defense, spending several hours on the stand. She was one of seven defense witnesses to testify. Her attorney, Jim Davis, set the tone by saying the case is that of betrayal of a player against her coach.

DeWitt admitted she had a close relationship with her 16-year-old accuser; noting they were like sisters. The former basketball coach says they confided in each other, called and texted often; and even took out of town trips together.She also testified that her accuser babysat her son, had access to a hidden house key, and spent the night at her home.

Dewitt claims once she became close to the accuser, they learned they were both victims of sexual abuse. However, DeWitt denied allegations of a sexual or inappropriate relationship between her and the female student.

"They are absolutely, 100 percent false," DeWitt said of the allegations.

Even when she was told by district leaders to cut off ties with the student, DeWitt admitted she didn't like following some of the rules and the two continued to communicate. DeWitt told the court she doesn't know why the teen made the accusations against her, because it was girl's mom who encouraged them to practice basketball together.

The defendants husband, Anthony DeWitt told the court that the basketball players, including the accuser, came over to the house often. When their home was broken into, egged and toilet-papered in 2010, Anthony says the student was also part of that group.

Arrested in 2013, DeWitt is charged with sexual battery while in a position of trust or authority. Closing arguments are set to begin Monday at 10 a.m.

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