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Ex-OC Cheerleading Coach Charged With Molesting Girls

A former competitive cheerleading coach in Orange County has been charged with molesting six girls as young as 11 years old while coaching at a cheer club and at a Mission Viejo high school.

Erick Joseph Kristianson, 44, of Antioch, Tennessee, was arrested last week in Fargo, North Dakota, on a warrant for the Orange County cases, the Orange County District Attorney’s Office said in a press release Wednesday.

Kristianson worked as a competitive cheerleading coach at Magic All-Stars from 2002 to 2008 and as an assistant coach at Trabuco Hills High School in 2005, which is how he was able to molest the girls, the DA’s office said.

Kristianson’s alleged crimes came to light after one of the girls came forward following news reports about his arrest in Daytona Beach, Florida, for allegedly masturbating on camera during a FaceTime call with three girls aged 11 to 13, as well as touching another 13-year-old’s breasts, according to the DA’s office.

Those girls were part of Kristianson’s cheer club in Daytona Beach, prosecutors said.

The first victim in Orange County told investigators that Kristianson began molesting her when she was 14. Up until she was 16, Kristianson would molest the girl after picking her up from school or taking her home from cheer practice, prosecutors said.

He molested five other victims – aged 11 to 16 – whom he coached in Orange County between 2002 and 2007, “routinely taking some of the girls to off-campus events and to his home where he would molest them,” the district attorney’s office said.

Kristianson was arrested in Kansas last year and extradited to Florida to face charges there, according to the DA’s office. He posted $30,000 bond and was released “without any restrictions on leaving the state,” prosecutors said.

“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,” District Attorney Todd Spitzer said in a written statement. “Thankfully, he is in custody and the Orange County District Attorney’s Office will do everything it can to ensure he is held accountable for assaulting these young girls who thought they could trust him.”

Kristianson is being held without bail at the Orange County Jail. He is charged with 16 felony counts, including lewd or larvicolous acts with a minor, sexual penetration by a foreign object of a minor and oral copulation on a minor.

If convicted on all charges, Kristianson faces a maximum sentence of 105 years to life in prison, plus five years and four months.

It was unclear if he had retained an attorney who could comment on his behalf.

Source: NBC Los Angeles

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