LANCASTER – Graphic testimony dominated day one of the preliminary hearing for a longtime Antelope Valley soccer coach accused of molesting more than a dozen young boys.
Renoir Valenti has pleaded not guilty to several felony counts of continuous sexual abuse and child molesting involving 13 boys, who were between the ages of 5 and 15 when the alleged molestations occurred. Read more here.
One of the alleged victims took the witness stand in an Antelope Valley courtroom Thursday.
“I know him to be a child molester,” the witness said, when questioned by prosecutor Jon Hatami on how he knew Valenti.
The witness testified he was nine-years-old when he met Valenti in 1998 through mutual friends at the east Palmdale apartment complex where they all lived.
Valenti’s apartment was a popular hang out with young boys in the neighborhood because Valenti had video games, BB guns and candy, the witness, who is now 23, testified. (The AV Times is withholding his name because of the nature of the case).
Valenti took him and his friends on field trips, took them to dinner, and gave them gifts, the witness testified. But after several “awkward” encounters with Valenti, their relationship soured, the witness testified.
“I dubbed him Chester the child molester,” he said.
Asked to describe the awkward encounters, the witness testified Valenti would ask him to sit on his lap when they were riding in Valenti’s car. He could feel Valenti’s erection while sitting on the man’s lap, the witness testified. He said Valenti also changed clothes in front him and his friends while they were playing video games in Valenti’s bedroom, and Valenti was “very touchy feely” and constantly kissing him on numerous occasions.
He said he discussed Valenti’s behavior with his friends, and word eventually got back to his mother, who notified authorities. The witness testified that his mother reported Valenti’s behavior to authorities in 1998, but nothing was done.
“I felt like nobody believed me,” the witness testified.
About 14 years later, Valenti, again, was reported to authorities.
On July 12, 2012, a mother came to the Lancaster Station and reported that Valenti had touched her nine-year-old son in an inappropriate manner, testified Lancaster Sheriff’s deputy Jason McGinty.
McGinty said he interviewed the boy on a bench outside the station, and the boy was emotional, hesitant and scared. The boy said Valenti had kissed him, sucked on his neck, and rubbed and sucked on his “shifter”, over his underwear, on seven to 10 occasions, McGinty testified. The boy said Valenti used the word “shifter” to refer to his penis, and said Valenti had played with his “shifter” on numerous occasions while the two were alone in Valenti’s bedroom, McGinty testified. The boy said his most recent incident with Valenti had been four days prior (July 8).
Valenti’s 39-year-old ex-wife also testified at the preliminary hearing Thursday. His ex-wife testified that she was 10 years old when she met Valenti, while at the beach with her family.
Valenti, who was over 21 at the time, began hanging out with her eight-year-old brother and buying him gifts, Valenti’s ex-wife testified.
She said she soon began joining Valenti and her younger brother on play dates, and eventually, a relationship between her and Valenti blossomed. She was 14 when she began dating Valenti and 15 or 16 when they got married, Valenti’s ex-wife testified. She said the two were married in 1988 and divorced 10 years later because she felt ignored and jealous of Valenti’s young male friends.
“I wasn’t paid too much attention to,” his ex-wife testified. She also testified that Valenti would take her on trips with his young friends and she had to sit in the back seat while the boys rode up front.
She said she filed a domestic violence report against Valenti in 1996.
Though the two divorced in 1998, they still live under the same roof. His ex-wife testified she lives in a “loft” in the upstairs portion of Valenti’s current Quartz Hill home.
During Thursday’s preliminary hearing, prosecutors also presented proof that Valenti used multiple aliases, including Raynard Haylock and Raymond Haylock, and he was born in 1959, as opposed to 1962.
Hatami presented evidence that showed Valenti was first issued a social security number in 1973 when he went by the name of Raynard Haylock. He then applied for another separate social security number in 1986 as Renoir Valenti.
Additionally, Valenti was arrested by the Nevada Police Department in 1980 for passing fictitious checks, Hatami said. At the time of his Nevada arrest, Valenti was going by the name Raymond Haylock, Hatami said. This week, Valenti’s complaint was amended to include charges of procuring or offering false or forged instruments for record.
Valenti’s preliminary hearing is expected to continue Friday morning, when several more witnesses, including Valenti’s two sons, are expected to testify. At the conclusion of the hearing, a judge will decide if there is enough evidence to bring Valenti’s case to trial.
Day two of the preliminary hearing for Valenti lasted less than an hour Friday morning (Sept. 21), and then the judge recessed the hearing until September 27.
During Friday’s brief hearing, Valenti’s ex-wife continued her testimony from the day before.
She said many young boys stayed over at the home she shares with Valenti and their two sons. She also testified that Valenti met many of the boys through his role as a youth soccer coach.
“He befriends kids who are in need,” Valenti’s ex-wife testified. She said she was aware that Valenti was accused of child molestation and even arrested in 1998. Valenti’s ex-wife also testified that she was aware that her then 12-year-old son had reported Valenti to authorities for molesting him in 2003.
That son took the witness stand after his mother Friday. Now 20 years old, Valenti’s son testified that his father never molested him or displayed inappropriate behavior around young boys.
Valenti’s 20-year-old son also testified that he couldn’t recall speaking to detectives in 2003 about his father molesting him.
Valenti’s 18-year-old son also took the witness stand Friday. The teen testified that his father would have as many as three boys spending the night at their house on several occasions. He said three young boys were spending the night at their home when deputies came by to arrest Valenti on August 6, 2012.
Valenti’s teen son said he had never been molested by his father, and said he found nothing strange about Valenti’s numerous friendships with young boys.
Valenti’s preliminary hearing is expected to resume at 1:30 p.m. on September 27. At the conclusion of the hearing, a judge will decide whether there is enough evidence for Valenti’s case to go to trial.