The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors agreed Tuesday to pay $625,000 to a teenager who was allegedly molested by 1984 Olympic boxing champion Paul Gonzales.
Gonzales, 55, has pleaded not guilty and is awaiting trial on eight felony counts for allegedly molesting a 13-year-old girl he met while working as a youth boxing coach in East Los Angeles.
Gonzales worked for the Los Angeles County Parks and Recreation Department as the head coach at the Eddie Heredia Boxing Club on East Olympic Boulevard for 10 years, and met the alleged victim there, prosecutors said.
The criminal complaint alleges that the crimes occurred between May 2017 and the end of December 2017.
The lawsuit against the county alleges that Gonzales sexually battered, assaulted and harassed the girl while she trained at the club.
The Jane Doe plaintiff said he called and texted her with inappropriate sexual dialogue and solicited and sent sexual images, according to a board summary.
“We believe that he befriended her and that he groomed her and we believe that lewd conduct was committed against her over a period of time,” sheriff’s Lt. Todd Deeds said shortly after Gonzales was arrested on December 29, 2017.
The girl’s mother discovered the inappropriate photos and texts and immediately reported them to law enforcement.
The plaintiff alleged that the county was culpable, while the Department of Parks and Recreation said Gonzales’ arrest was the first time it was made aware of the allegations.
Department managers later updated policies to ban any one-on-one closed-door interactions between minors and adult employees or volunteers.
The gold medalist could face up to 18 years and four months in state prison if convicted of four counts of lewd acts on a child and one count each of an attempted lewd act on a child, possession of child or youth pornography, distributing or showing pornography to a minor and contact with a minor for a sexual offense.
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