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Youth basketball coach pleads no contest to sex acts with nine boys

A former youth basketball coach who worked in Santa Clarita Valley schools pleaded no contest Wednesday to sexually assaulting nine teenage boys who either played on his teams or trained with him privately.

Jeremy Andre Haggerty, 34, pleaded no contest to six counts of lewd acts on a child and three counts of sexual battery, all felonies. As part of his plea, Haggerty is expected to be sentenced to nine years in state prison on July 3. Prosecutors dismissed several other counts that would have carried a longer sentence.

Haggerty was investigated by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department in August after one boy came forward with allegations that the coach had molested him. Within a few months, eight other boys reported they also had been sexually assaulted by Haggerty, dating back to 2008. The boys ranged in age from 14 to 17 at the time of the attacks.

Prosecutors said Haggerty molested the boys at their homes after telling them they needed physical treatments, such as those at the college and professional levels. The coach then would massage the boys’ bodies and eventually touch them sexually, according to court documents. Haggerty referred to the treatments as “body maintenance,” but sheriff’s sex crimes detectives said it was a pretense to molest the boys.

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“In each case, the suspect got to know the victim through his role as a basketball coach at a high school here in the Santa Clarita Valley,” sheriff’s Det. Brian Hudson said. “He gained the trust of the parents, where the parents would allow him to provide the children with one-on-one tutoring sessions to improve their basketball skills.”

Authorities have not identified all of the schools where Haggerty worked, but records show he previously was a basketball coach at Trinity Classical Academy, a private school in Valencia. He also worked as an assistant coach at West Ranch High School in Stevenson Ranch and Canyon High in Santa Clarita, both public schools. None of the alleged incidents happened on campuses.

richard.winton@latimes.com

Twitter: @lacrimes

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