A former competitive cheerleading instructor in Orange County was arrested and charged with multiple felony counts of molesting six girls while he was their coach.
Erik Kristianson, 44, of Antioch, Tennessee, was arrested last week in Fargo, North Dakota after a warrant was issued for his arrest in Orange County.
Officials allege that Kristianson molested several young girls while working as a coach at a competitive cheer club and at a high school in Mission Viejo, according to the United States Department of Justice.
The accusations came to light last year after he was arrested in Daytona Beach, Florida, on allegations that he masturbated to three girls, all under the age of 13, during a FaceTime call. He’s also accused of touching another young girl’s breasts.
In August 2022, Kristianson was arrested in Kansas on a warrant related to the alleged abuse in Florida. He was extradited back to the state to face charges related to the FaceTime call, but left the state after posting $300,000 bond. He was released without any restrictions on leaving the state, the DOJ said.
Kristianson coached at Magic All-Stars, an Orange County cheerleading academy, from 2002 to 2008. He was also an assistant cheer coach at Trabuco Hills High School in 2005. That’s where he allegedly gained access to the six young girls that he’s accused of molesting.
After news of his arrest in Florida made headlines, a woman from Orange County contacted authorities to report her own story of abuse. She told investigators she was molested by Kristianson when he was her cheer coach; she was 14 years old at the time. The alleged abuse happened for two years, in which Kristianson would pick her up from school or cheer practice and then molest her.
He’s also accused of molesting five other Orange County girls between 2002 and 2007. He allegedly would take the girls to off-campus events or to his home, where he would molest them. The ages of those victims ranged from 11 to 16, the DOJ said.
Last week, he was arrested in North Dakota and extradited to Orange County to stand trial for the California charges. He’s currently being held on a felony warrant at the Theo Lacy Facility in Orange.
His jail records indicate he appeared in court on Wednesday.
Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer described Kristianson as a pedophile who would not stop stalking and grooming victims until he was stopped.
“This was not a predator hiding in the shadows waiting to grab innocent girls. He was hiding in plain sight as he assaulted girl after girl, thinking he would never be caught because they trusted him as a coach,” Spitzer said.
The Orange County DA said his office would do everything it could to “ensure he is held accountable.”
Kristianson faces 16 felony child molestation counts in California, with a maximum possible sentence of 105 years to life in prison.
Authorities also believe there may be additional victims who have not yet been contacted. Anyone with information is urged to call Orange County Sheriff’s Department Investigator Austin Jones at 714-647-4016.