A onetime American Youth Soccer Organization coach in Lancaster was found guilty Thursday of molesting 15 children over 17 years.
Jurors took four hours to convict Renoir Vincent Valenti, 52, of multiple felony and misdemeanor sexual abuse crimes after a lengthy trial in which they heard from nearly five dozen witnesses, Los Angeles Deputy Dist. Atty Jon Hatami said.
Valenti not only coached but officiated games for the AYSO over nearly 17 years. Valenti, an AYSO coach who used numerous aliases, molested 14 boys, six of whom were soccer players he coached, and a young girl.
"He fraudulently changed his name, date of birth and Social Security number," Hatami said. "He had many many victims. We found pictures of some of the boys at his Caltrans workplace."
Hatami said his victims ranged from 8 to 12 years old, and the incidents occurred between 1995 and 2012.
Valenti was first investigated in 2003, but detectives could not gather enough evidence to criminally prosecute him in connection with the molestation of a relative.
The relative recanted, Hatami said. However, during the trial, another victim testified that the relative recanted after the coach attempted to strangle him and threaten him.
Sheriff's Special Victims Unit detectives began their latest investigation of Valenti in July 2012 when the mother of a 10-year-boy reported her soon had been molested.
That boy did not come into contact with Valenti through soccer. But as the investigation developed, detectives identified two other boys who played soccer and were molested.
Detectives arrested Valenti in August 2012. The numbers of victims soon escalated. Detectives combed his prior teams and contacts, including those who lived in the various apartment buildings where he resided over the years.
One victim who lived in the same apartment building testified that he was repeatedly molested for several years.
Jurors on Thursday convicted Valenti of five felony counts of continuous child abuse, four felony counts of lewd act upon a child and four felony counts of procuring and offering false or forged instrument.
Valenti was also convicted of six misdemeanors of child molesting, and one count of disobeying a court order. During a 35-day trial, 58 witnesses testified against Valenti.
The former coach now faces up to 154 years to life in prison at a sentencing scheduled for April 18 at Antelope Valley courthouse.