SANTA CLARITA (FOX 11 / CNS) - Authorities on Thursday arrested a Santa Clarita Valley area high school basketball coach on suspicion of child molestation.
Detectives say if you say the name Jeremy Haggerty around those who pay attention to high school basketball in the Santa Clarita Valley they'll know exactly who you're talking about.
Haggerty, who's 34 years-old, faces 13 charges filed by the DA in a case that first came to light last month. The molestation of several minors. All, says authorities, are over the age of 14.
To be clear, none of what is alleged happened at any of the schools mentioned in this story. But, authorities say, he met some of his victims at the schools at which he worked.
"He knew his stuff. He really knew his basketball and to us he was a great guy," says Lucas Schoelen. Schoelen is a former basketball player at West Ranch High School. He says he can't believe the coach was arrested on molestation charges.
But, listening to LA County Sheriffs Detective Brian Hudson what Haggerty is accused of isn't normal. Hudson says there are 8 cases of inappropriate touching of at least 8 students from Valencia High School, West Ranch High School… Canyon high school … Trinity Academy and more. The cases date back to 2008, but only surfaced last month.
Hudson says none of the incidents occurring on campus, but in private homes and adds, "In each case the suspect got to know the victim thru his role as a basketball coach at a high schools here in the Santa Clarita Valley. He gained the trust of the parents where the parents would allow him to provide the children with one-on-one tutoring sessions to improve their basketball skills."
Hudson says that led to something that crossed the line; something the suspect called "body maintenance." The Sgt. says that term was another "for essentially giving the children massages. These massages started out innocently enough. Eventually, they progressed to where he was touching the victims (and) to where he was touching inappropriately in a sexual manner."
Back to Lucas Scholen... he's says its all "very shocking. I did not see that happening."
The coach was arrested in Orange County. He's being held on $300,000 bail.
The investigation was conducted by the sheriff's Special Victims Bureau. Anyone with information on the case, or any possible victims, were urged to call (877) 710-5273; email investigators at email@example.com; or call Crime Stoppers at (800) 222-TIPS.