A former coach of a Next Generation select softball team has pleaded not guilty to sexually abusing two underage girls who played for the team.
41-year-old Jacob Perez was arraigned in the 150th District Court on February 6 and pleaded not guilty to four counts of sexual assault of a child and two counts of indecency with a child. Judge Jack Pulcher set a trial date for June 17th.
Perez was charged in August after turning himself on an arrest warrant for sexual assault. On August 5, A parent of another softball player told police that Perez was in a relationship with a 17-year-old girl on the team. According to the affidavit, the girl told police officers that she was in a relationship with Perez but that they did not have sex until January 2018 - when the girl was just 16 years old.
Three days later, police issued an arrest warrant for Perez. He turned himself in on August 15.
Police identified a second victim after the first arrest warrant was issued. The affidavit states that the first victim's 14-year-old sister learned of the relationship and told another teammate "that she too had a sexual relationship with Perez for the past two months."
That teammate spoke to police about the conversation on August 9. She initially did not mention sexual assault or the conversation. However, the next day her father spoke to police and suggested she had not been completely upfront in the interview. On August 15, she was interviewed against and told police that she and Perez had sex about four times.
Attorney contributor Marc Lenahan represents survivors of sexual abuse in civil cases, helping them seek and find justice. Here are some of his thoughts on the legal options available to families affected by sexual abuse in youth sports:
Sadly, many fields that involve working with kids are targeted by sexual predators. These predators gain the trust of families in the community and exploit this trust to commit atrocious crimes. This is why it's critical for youth sports organizations to make sure coaches, volunteers, and others working in the organization are properly screened and that preventative measures are put in place to reduce the risk of abuse.
Many cases of child sexual abuse may have been prevented if it weren't for the negligence of third parties. For example, a youth sports league may be considered negligent for the abuse of league participants if they failed to run background checks before hiring coaches and hired someone with a history of sexual misconduct. In cases of negligence, the victims and their families may have grounds for a lawsuit against the organization.
If you or your child is a survivor of sexual abuse in a youth sports league, we understand how difficult this time has been for you and your family. We can help you find the justice and support you deserve. To learn more about your legal options, contact our experienced sexual abuse survivors lawyers for a free consultation.