A former Santa Clarita-area youth basketball coach was sentenced to nine years in state prison for sexually assaulting nine teenage boys who played or trained with him privately.
In May, Jeremy Haggerty, 34, pleaded no contest to six counts of lewd acts on a child and three counts of sexual battery, all felonies. Wednesday’s sentencing was expected after his plea. Prosecutors dismissed several other counts that would have carried a longer sentence.
The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department began its investigation into Haggerty in August after one boy alleged that the coach had molested him. Within months, eight other boys — ages 14 to 17 at the time of the attacks — came forward with allegations of sexual assault that dated to 2008. Haggerty was arrested in September.
The coach told the boys they needed physical treatment, prosecutors said, before molesting them at their homes. He would massage the boys’ bodies, then touch them sexually, referring to the treatments as “body maintenance,” according to court documents.
“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.”
Larry Nassar, the former Michigan State University and U.S. Olympic team doctor, used a similar guise of therapeutic treatment to molest young athletes, all while gaining their trust and that of their parents. Last year, Nassar was sentenced to 40 to 125 years in prison after more than 260 women and girls came forward with assault allegations against the doctor that dated to the early 1990s.
Records show that Haggerty previously worked as 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 incidents occurred on campuses.
The parents of one of Haggerty’s victims made an impact statement during Wednesday’s sentencing.