Ex-California cheerleading coach charged with molesting girls
SANTA ANA, Calif. (AP) — A former competitive cheerleading coach has been charged with molesting girls as young as 11 years old in Southern California and he faces similar charges in Florida, prosecutors said Wednesday.
Erick Joseph Kristianson, 44, of Antioch, Tennessee, was arrested last week in Fargo, North Dakota, on a warrant, the Orange County district attorney’s office said in a statement.
He was extradited back to California and was being held without bail on Wednesday, according to an Orange County Sheriff’s Department website.
It wasn’t immediately clear whether he had an attorney to speak on his behalf. A message to the DA’s office asking whether he had counsel wasn’t immediately returned.
In California, he is accused of molesting girls ages 11 to 16 while coaching at the Magic All-Stars club, a competitive cheer club, and while he was an assistant cheer coach at Trabuco Hills High School in Mission Viejo in the 2000s, prosecutors said. He is facing 16 felony counts including committing lewd acts on a child.
Kristianson could face a possible life sentence if convicted of all charges.
“This was not a predator hiding in the shadows waiting to grab innocent girls. He was hiding in plain sight as he assaulted girl after girl, thinking he would never be caught because they trusted him as a coach,” Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer said in the statement.
In Florida, Kristianson is facing charges of child exhibition and child molestation for allegedly exposing himself and masturbating during a FaceTime call to three girls, ages 11 to 13, that he coached in Daytona Beach and, on another occasion, allegedly fondling the breast of a 13-year-old girl who had been on the call, authorities said.
He was arrested last year in Kansas on a warrant and extradited to Florida, but posted bond and was released, prosecutors said.
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