(FOX 11) - Sheriff's detectives hoping to lure more victims into coming forward plan to publicly discuss Friday the arrest of a 53-year-old Olympic boxing champion and county-employed boxing coach facing felony charges for allegedly committing lewd acts on a child.
Special Victims Bureau detectives are looking for any additional victims who may not yet have come forward with complaints against 1984 Olympic boxing gold medalist Paul Gonzales, who worked for the Los Angeles County Parks and Recreation Department as the head coach at the Eddie Heredia Boxing Club on East Olympic Boulevard in East L.A. He represented the U.S. in boxing at the 1984 Summer Olympic Games in Los Angeles, where he won a gold medal as a light flyweight.
Gonzales, who has worked at the club for the past 10 years, was arrested a week ago following an investigation by the Sheriff's Special Victims Bureau. He is being held in lieu of $545,000 bail and is facing eight felony counts, four of which are lewd acts upon a child, according to the sheriff's department.
He is next due in court in downtown Los Angeles on Jan. 18.
"Based on the allegations in this case, and the fact suspect Gonzales has trained and mentored kids at the boxing gym for the past ten years, detectives believe there may have been other children in the past that were sexually assaulted by suspect Gonzales,'' according to a sheriff's department statement.
Update from Phil Shuman:
At the East LA Boxing gym that Paul Gonzales has called home for the past decade, shock and disbelief over the lewd conduct arrest and 8 felony counts, including showing pornography to a minor.
"We're like a family here...this really hurts'' said a 19-year-old when he learned of the news. That pretty much summed up the reaction. Gonzales is a local hero, the tough kid turned Olympian, the first Mexican American boxing gold winner, at LA, fittingly, in '84.
He ran for City Council, unsuccessfully back in '05 against someone named Villariagosa, and for the past decade or so has been teaching boxing at after-school programs to kids as an employee of LA County Parks and Rec. Last month according to the Sheriff's Dept. Special Victim's Bureau, the family member of a teenage girl Gonzales befriended at the gym complained to the Sheriff's of inappropriate behavior.
A short investigation led to an arrest and now 8 felony charges by the District Attorney has the 53-year-old behind bars at Men's Central Jail awaiting arraignment. Few details on the alleged victim, just that it's a girl under 14.
We'll wait to hear Gonzales side of things.
Anyone with relevant information about the case was urged to contact the Sheriff's Special Victims Bureau at (877) 710-5273.