A former youth soccer coach in Lancaster was found guilty Thursday of molesting 15 children over a period of 17 years.
Jurors deliberated for four hours before finding 52-year-old Renoir Vincent Valenti guilty of five felony counts of continuous child abuse and four felony counts of lewd acts upon a child, according to a news release from the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office.
Valenti, a long-time coach and referee with the American Youth Soccer Organization, was also convicted of six misdemeanor counts of child molesting, and one count of disobeying a court order, the release stated.
Between 1995 and 2012, the AYSO coach molested 14 boys, six of whom were soccer players he coached, and a young girl, prosecutor Jonathan Hatami said.
The ages of Valenti’s victims ranged from 8 years old to 12 years old, Hatami said.
The investigation into Valenti’s activities began in 2012 when the mother of a 10-year-old boy told authorities that her son had been molested by the coach.
The AYSO issued the following statement regarding the case:
“This case is a painful reminder of just how high the stakes are when it comes to our children. The need for constant vigilance has never been greater. Everyone—from organized youth sports programs to commercial facilities that cater to children to law enforcement to individual parents—must share in the responsibility of protecting our kids, and we must all work together as we continue trying to identify ways to improve our existing child protection systems.”
Prosecutors said Valenti faced 154 years to life in prison.
He was set to be sentenced on April 18.