LA Olympic boxer Paul Gonzales, accused of lewd acts on child, pleads not guilty

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Local boxing hero Paul Gonzales has pleaded not guilty to charges of sexually assaulting a 13-year-old girl he met while working as a boxing coach in East Los Angeles.

Gonzales was in court Thursday morning for his arraignment on eight felony counts: Four counts of lewd acts on a child and one count each of an attempted lewd act on a child, possession of child or youth pornography, distributing or showing pornography to a minor and contact with a minor for a sexual offense.

The 1984 Olympic gold medalist has worked for the Los Angeles County Parks and Recreation Department as the head coach at the Eddie Heredia Boxing Club on East Olympic Boulevard for the past 10 years, and he met the alleged victim at the boxing club last year, Lt. Todd Deeds with the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department told reporters last month.

"We believe that he befriended her and that he groomed her and we believe that lewd conduct was committed against her over a period of time," Deeds said, declining to specify where the alleged crimes occurred.

The criminal complaint alleges that the lewd acts occurred on or between May 1 and Aug. 9 last year, and that the other crimes occurred on or between Aug. 1 and Dec. 29.

Investigators are concerned that with his exposure to children at the gym, there may be other possible victims. They asked anyone with information to contact the LASD's Special Victims Bureau at (877) 710-5273 or (877) 710-LASD.

If convicted on all counts, Gonzales could face up to 18 years and four months in state prison. Gonzales remains in jail in lieu of $545,000 bail. He is expected to be back in court Feb. 28 for a preliminary hearing.

City News Service contributed to this report.
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