LANCASTER – Opening statements were made Tuesday in the trial of Renoir Valenti, the longtime Antelope Valley youth soccer coach charged with molesting or sexually abusing more than a dozen underage boys.
Valenti, an American Youth Soccer Organization (AYSO) coach and referee for several years, was arrested Aug. 6, 2012 at his Quartz Hill home. The arrest came after a next door neighbor reported that her son had been molested by Valenti.
Two days after his arrest, Valenti was charged with felony continuous sexual abuse of a child and annoying or molesting a child. Over the course of the criminal investigation, 15 alleged victims were identified, including five current or former soccer players Valenti coached.
During a four-day preliminary court hearing in October of 2012, some of the victims, along with law enforcement personnel, gave graphic testimony about the alleged abuse. Read more here.
In his opening statement Tuesday, Deputy District Attorney Jon Hatami used a PowerPoint presentation to lay out for jurors a timeline of Valenti’s alleged crimes.
Born Raynord Haylock in 1959, Valenti illegally changed his name, date of birth and social security number in 1986, Hatami said. Valenti moved to Palmdale in the 1990s, and he molested numerous children in the Antelope Valley, with allegations going back to 1995 involving a 5-year-old boy, Hatami said. The majority of Valenti’s victims were young boys with blond hair and were between 5 and 10-years-old when the molestation or sexual abuse occurred, Hatami said.
One of the victims is Valenti’s son, who was 10-years-old when he told authorities that his father molested him, Hatami said.
Also included in the list of victims is Valenti’s ex-wife, who was just 13 when she started dating the 27-year-old Valenti, Hatami said. Valenti met the girl through her 8-year-old brother, and he married her two days after her 14th birthday, Hatami said.
The case was about a grown man who had molested young kids and stolen their innocence, Hatami told the jury.
“By the end of this trial, the evidence will show the defendant is nothing more than a serial child predator,” Hatami said.
Defense attorney Michael Morse said Valenti would be taking the stand during the trial to “categorically deny” all of the allegations, which stemmed from “jealousy.”
“He’s gonna tell you that none of this happened,” Morse said.
Valenti is facing 21 charges, the majority of which are misdemeanor child molesting. The charges also include five felony counts of continuous sexual abuse of a child, as well as four felony counts of procuring false or forged instruments, for allegedly obtaining social security numbers under the names Renoir Valenti and Raynord Haylock.
Valenti’s trial is expected to last at least three weeks, and up to 75 witnesses could be called to testify, Hatami said.
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