Four sex abuse victims are suing the American Youth Soccer Organization (AYSO) for allegedly failing to protect them from Renoir Valenti, the Lancaster youth soccer coach convicted of molesting 14 boys, six of whom played on AYSO soccer teams.
The sexual abuse civil lawsuit was filed Tuesday in the Los Angeles Superior Court on behalf of four unnamed plaintiffs, according to attorneys Paul Mones and Irwin Zalkin. [View the complaint here.]
According to the complaint, the plaintiffs were all sexually abused by Valenti, who came in contact with them as a commissioner, youth soccer coach and/or referee in the AYSO.
The complaint alleges that AYSO had a duty to protect the plaintiffs and knew or should have known that Valenti was a danger to children in his care and that his behavior and actions violated AYSO policies.
Those actions included Valenti’s “behavior at games wherein he inappropriately touched boys, his submitting and paying for registrations of boys that were not his biological children, his bringing boys not related to him to games that he coached or refereed, his transporting boys that were not his biological children to and from AYSO soccer games and or practices, and his having AYSO soccer players at his house for parties, dinners, sleep-overs,” the complaint alleges.
The lawsuit claims that the plaintiffs suffered “great pain of mind and body, physical injury, shock, emotional distress, physical manifestations of emotional distress, embarrassment, loss of self-esteem, disgrace, humiliation, and loss of enjoyment of life.” It seeks an unspecified amount in damages from the AYSO. [View the complaint here.]
AYSO has reportedly declined to comment on the lawsuit.
According to its website, “The American Youth Soccer Organization (AYSO) is the oldest national youth soccer program in the United States… Consisting of over 50,000 teams and 500,000 players nationwide, AYSO is one of the leading youth soccer organizations in the world.
Valenti was an AYSO soccer coach and/or referee from 1994 to 2012 in Lancaster, Quartz Hill and Palmdale, according to Deputy District Attorney Jon Hatami, who prosecuted the criminal case.
During the 35-day criminal trial, which began Jan. 22, 2014, Antelope Valley jurors heard testimony from 58 witnesses, including all of Valenti’s victims. The young boys’ stories were similar. They were drawn to Valenti because he lavished them with gifts and took them on trips; they often spent nights at Valenti’s home; and Valenti showered them with hugs and kisses, which then progressed to something more. The disturbing testimony on the sexual abuse ranged from accounts of genital fondling to attempted rape.
Valenti was found guilty of multiple felony and misdemeanor sex crimes, including five felony counts of continuous child sexual abuse, four felony counts of lewd act upon a child and six misdemeanor counts of child molestation. He was sentenced in April 2014 to 130 years to life in state prison.
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