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Soccer Coach Pleads Not Guilty to Charges of Molesting 4 Boys

TIMES STAFF WRITER

A former Whittier soccer coach accused of molesting four boys--two from his teams--pleaded not guilty Thursday in Whittier Municipal Court to 20 felony counts of committing lewd acts with children.

Raymond McClendon, 28, surrendered to authorities Wednesday night in Riverside, where he had recently moved. He was being held Thursday night in lieu of $500,000 bail, officials said.

A preliminary hearing for McClendon is scheduled for Sept. 10 in Whittier Municipal Court. He faces a maximum prison sentence of about 70 years if convicted on all counts, Deputy Dist. Atty. H. J. Steinitz said.

The molestations, including fondling, oral copulation and attempted sodomy, occurred from September, 1988, to last June, Steinitz said.

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The victims are 9 to 13, but one was 8 when he was first molested, Steinitz said. Three of the boys alleged that they were molested various times.

McClendon coached two of the boys and the others were friends of soccer players, authorities said.

McClendon, who owned a small carpet cleaning business, volunteered as a coach for an American Youth Soccer Organization team in Whittier and nearby communities, Sheriff’s Lt. Joe Surgent said. He lived with his parents in Whittier before moving to Riverside.

An acquaintance, who asked that his name not be used, described McClendon as a friendly person, adding, “Kids flocked to him.”

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McClendon had agreed to turn himself in to sheriff’s deputies on Wednesday afternoon but he failed to show up, Surgent said.

Sheriff’s investigators were en route to his apartment in Riverside when he paged them on a beeper and agreed to meet them at the Riverside Police Station.


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