Former Orange County youth basketball coach Carlos Francisco Juarez convicted of sexually assaulting 4 former players

Former youth basketball coach Carlos Francisco Juarez has been convicted of sexually assaulting four young female athletes, after also being accused at trial of grooming and exploiting two others, while he was involved with a variety of Orange County club and high school teams. He faces up to 150 years to life in prison, according to the DA’s office.

Juarez, 48, was convicted of 21 felony counts — including lewd acts upon a minor, oral copulation of a minor and sexual penetration by foreign object of a minor — in connection with four former players who ranged in age from 11 to 17 at the time of assaults, between 2005 and 2010.

Two other former players made similar allegations in their testimony during Juarez’s trial, but their accusations were not included among the criminal counts filed by prosecutors.

Juarez coached several club basketball teams — including So Cal Swoosh and O.C. Mustangs — and also at times worked at Aliso Niguel, Costa Mesa, Mater Dei and Tustin high schools, according to the Orange County District Attorney’s Office.

Most of the girls said the sexual abuse occurred during one-on-one basketball lessons or when he was driving them back home following those private sessions, and included kissing and groping.

One of the girls recalled Juarez forcing her, when she was 11-years-old, to run around a gym in Tustin topless, after trying to persuade her to take off all her clothes. She also testified that he gave her an envelope of money after sexually assaulting her at a practice.

A second girl testified that Juarez forced her to perform a sex act on him when she was 13-years-old in exchange for the promise that she would be a starter on her basketball team.

Another girl — whose family home Juarez moved into following a divorce — said she had an ongoing sexual relationship with Juarez that began when she was 13-years-old and lasted more than four years.

At least two of the accusers said they believed at the time that they were dating Juarez, who was decades older than the girls and who pressured them to keep their relationship a secret.

One of the former players said she “felt disgusted” by the abuse, but was ashamed to tell her parents about it. Another said she believed at the time that Juarez would have dropped her from the team if she told anyone about the assaults, adding that he told her it was “how you prove your loyalty to him,” the prosecutor said.

Any other victims or anyone with information about Juarez should immediately contact the Orange County Sherrif’s Department.

Manly, Stewart & Finaldi has represented hundreds of youth sport coaches in clubs and schools . We won a $52 million settlement on behalf of  15 children who were sexually abused by Sun Valley High School wrestling coach Terry Gillard. We won a $31-million-dollar settlement on behalf of 25 children who were abused by Torrence wrestling coach Thomas Joseph Snider. . We secured a settlement of $140 million on behalf of 81 child sexual abuse victims at Miramonte Elementary School in Los Angeles. This was the largest child sexual abuse settlement by a public school district in history.  We are also the lead attorneys representing Olympic athletes and victims of former US Olympic Women’s Gymnastics Team Doctor Larry Nassar and secured $890 million in settlements for our clients. In each of these cases we have helped victims and families get justice by conducting a thorough investigation of the organization and the school In many cases we have discovered that administrators and executives know that the perpetrator was a danger to children and either did nothing or actively covered up the crimes.