Orange County water polo coach accused of sexually abusing 7 girls

SANTA ANA, Calif. (KABC) -- An Orange County water polo coach accused of sexually abusing seven underage girls was charged on Wednesday.

The Orange County District Attorney's office said Bahram Hojreh, 42, faces a total of 22 counts, including sexual battery and sexual penetration by foreign object of a minor.

Bahram is accused of touching the victims' breasts and genitals, digitally penetrating them, and coercing them to touch his genital area. Four of the victims were 15 years old or younger.

The alleged abuse was believed to have taken place between September 2014 and January 2018 during one-on-one coaching sessions.

"It's always scary when someone in a position of power, is able to manipulate that position and take advantage of it and do something like this," Deputy District Attorney Shiba Etemadian said.

Two victims, who were not identified, reported the assaults to their parents, who reported the incidents to Child Protective Services. CPS then contacted the Los Alamitos Police Department.

The charges come months after Bahram's club in Los Alamitos, the International Water Polo Club, was removed from using the pool at a military base. Police informed base officials they were investigating allegations involving sexual misconduct against the program's director.

Hojreh posted bail on Wednesday and was spotted walking out of a court room after pleading not guilty.

Law enforcement officials said they are seeking potential additional victims of the water polo coach.

Hojreh touts himself as a coach for nearly a quarter-century who has "helped develop multiple Olympians."

He serves on the board for a local chapter of USA Water Polo, the sport's governing body in the United States.

The organization's CEO Christopher Ramsey released a statement.

"USA Water Polo has zero tolerance for sexual misconduct. We first learned of the allegations against Bahram Hojreh from the US Center for SafeSport in January, to which the allegations had been initially reported, and promptly suspended Mr. Hojreh from USAWP membership, including his seat on a regional board.

"At that time, the Center also noted the suspension on their public database while their investigation into Mr. Hojreh's conduct continued. The Center was established to respond to allegations such as those made in reference to Mr. Hojreh and we fully support the Center in its efforts and fully cooperate with the Center in enforcing any sanctions that the Center may impose."

Anyone with any additional information or potential victims are urged to contact the Los Alamitos Police Department.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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