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Local soccer coach charged with molesting players

June 30, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
A local soccer coach was arrested for allegedly molesting his players, and police say there could be more victims.

Authorities said 42-year-old Jose Duarte formed and sponsored his own team called U.S.A., which practiced and played in MacArthur Park, Vista Hermosa Park and Gilbert Lindsey Recreation Center in South Los Angeles.

Duarte is charged with 15 counts of felony child molestation. Officials said the molestation had gone on for at least one year.

A 13-year-old victim came forward Sunday to say he had been sexually assaulted by his soccer coach. Police said Duarte committed the sexual assault at his house and his car.

The LAPD's Sexual Assault Detail team has since identified two other victims, who say they've also been coached and molested by Duarte.

"Wow. I can't believe someone would do that," said 16-year-old Lourdes Tran.

Tran and members of a healthy eating group exercising at MacArthur Park were surprised by Duarte's arrest. Tran said one member's son plays soccer in the park and is concerned he may have had contact with Duarte.

Adults playing a pick-up game Thursday morning said kids usually practice after school and play their games on Saturday. Players told Eyewitness News that they didn't recognize Duarte's picture but they're glad police made an arrest.

In addition to coaching, authorities said Duarte also helped transport kids at Webster Middle School for soccer practice.

Bail for Duarte has been set at $2.5 million.

There may be more victims out there. If you have any information regarding this case, please call (877) LAPD-24-7 or (877) 527-3247.

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