A man who won a gold medal for boxing in the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles has been arrested and charged for allegations that he molested a young girl who was receiving instruction at a boxing club where he worked as a head coach.
Light flyweight division boxer Paul Gonzales, the first gold medal winning Mexican-American who was locally dubbed “prince of the barrio,” has been employed at the LA County Parks and Recreation Department’s Eddie Heredia Boxing Club as a head coach for youngsters for the past 10 years. Gonzales has worked with children age 8 and above who were enrolled in the programs. The 53-year-old has also been awarded with a community service award from the World Boxing Council for his personal contributions.
At some point in the last year Gonzales reportedly met a 13-year-old girl who was enrolled at the club in an after school program. It is believed that he cultivated a relationship with her that led to molestation said to have taken place over a three month period beginning in early May.
In December, a member of the victim’s family notified the authorities about the alleged sexual abuse.
Police located Gonzales near his home and he was taken into custody on December 29. He has been charged with a total of eight felonies comprised of four counts of committing lewd acts and four counts of possession of pornography. He was booked into the Men’s Central Jail in Los Angeles in lieu of $545,000 bail, and his arraignment is scheduled to take place on January 18.
Due to Gonzales’ proximity to children through his position at the boxing club investigators have concern that other victims may surface, but there has been no evidence thus far to support the claim.
The World Boxing Council president made a statement regarding the charges reporting that he knew him to be kind and devoted much time to children and boxing, and that his hopes are that the situation is due to “a misconception or misunderstanding.”
The prosecution and defense have declined to issue statements.
If Gonzales is convicted on all charges he could face a prison sentence of up to 18 years.
If you or someone you love is suspected of a sex crime, contact Orange County criminal defense lawyer Staycie R. Sena at (949) 477-8088 for a consultation now.