Orange County Soccer Coach Arrested on Child Molestation Charges

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Police Seeking More Victims After Costa Mesa Soccer Coach Arrested for Child Molestation

Police Seeking More Victims After Costa Mesa Soccer Coach Arrested for Child Molestation

Apr 17, 2022

An Orange County youth soccer coach was arrested Thursday on suspicion of multiple sex crimes, according to authorities.

Joshua Clever, 39, of Santa Ana was taken into custody on charges of child molestation and possession of child pornography. The Costa Mesa Police Department is seeking the public’s assistance in identifying possible additional victims harmed by the youth soccer coach.

Orange County Soccer Coach Arrested on Child Molestation Charges

NBC 4 Los Angeles reported that police initially took Clever into custody on April 7 on accusations of child molestation and lewd acts on a minor.

Parents of a 14-year-old victim, a soccer player, reportedly accused Clever of “grooming the young girl for six months” and then raping her. The alleged victim has only been identified as Jane Doe, but police indicated the youth soccer coach gained access to the girl through his job.

Clever subsequently gained private access to Jane Doe and is accused of having unlawful sexual intercourse with the victim,” police said.

Police did not identify Clever’s place of employment, only confirming that he works for a company in Santa Ana, KTLA reported.

Clever posted $100,000 bail for the April 7 arrest. Shortly after leaving custody, however, detectives alleged they discovered images of child sexual abuse material on his cellphone.

The child pornography material led to the latest booking, which added a charge for possession of the images. Clever was found in the 3200 block of Susan Street in Santa Ana, NBC 4 reported.

According to KTLA, Costa Mesa Police Department detectives are currently attempting to identify the children in the images allegedly found on the coach’s phone, and any other victims the coach might have had access to while on the job.

Anyone who may have been victimized by Clever or may have information related to a sex crime committed by the youth soccer coach is urged to contact Costa Mesa Police Department (CMPD) Detective Alicia Defuria at 714-754-5364 or via adefuria@costamesaca.gov.

The public can also contact CMPD Sergeant Jose Morales at 714-754-4933.

Other Local Youth Soccer Coach Arrested for Sex Crimes With Minors

Last month, a Redlands, California, youth soccer coach was arrested after police discovered him having sex with a 14-year-old girl in the backseat of his car.

“Shortly after 4 a.m., while on proactive patrol, Redlands Police officers contacted Jonathan Jeremy Ledesma with the victim inside his vehicle during an occupied vehicle check,” the Redlands Police Department said in a statement. “Officers located evidence of sex acts inside of the vehicle.

“During a consent search of Ledesma’s phone, officers located text messages that were sexual in nature between the victim and Ledesma planning to meet up for sex,” the agency said.
The teenage girl confessed that she’d had sex with Ledesma several times over the past two months, according to police. Ledesma initially met the victim while coaching her at the age of 9 through the Redlands American Youth Soccer Organization (AYSO), according to a report from ABC 7.

The two area youth soccer coach arrests are one of several recent incidents involving sex crimes with minors.

Some additional teacher or coach-involved sexual abuse cases that have made headlines include:

What is Child Sexual Grooming?

The American Bar Association (ABA) defines sexual grooming as “a preparatory process in which a perpetrator gradually gains a person’s or organization’s trust with the intent to be sexually abusive.” When sexual grooming occurs, the victim is typically a child, teen, or vulnerable adult.

Grooming can entail any of the following with a child or young person:

  • Building a relationship
  • Building trust
  • Building an emotional connection with the intent to manipulate, exploit, or abuse

Groomers frequently take these steps in an effort to gain access to (and time alone with) children.

In extreme cases, predators may use threats and physical force to sexually assault or abuse a child. In most instances, however, subtle approaches designed to build relationships with families are utilized by the groomer.

The predator may assume a caring role – befriending the child or even exploiting their position of trust and authority to groom him/her (and/or the child’s family). Sexual groomers may attempt to build a relationship with the young person’s family or friends – going to great lengths make themselves seem trustworthy or authoritative. Parents are cautioned to always remain vigilant, understanding that anyone (at any time) can be a sexual predator.

As the ABA notes, sexual predators use grooming to intentionally build relationships with the adults around a child or seek out a child who is less supervised by parents or guardians. This increases the likelihood that the offender’s time with the child is welcomed and encouraged by the adults.

Children and young people who are victims of grooming are often sexually abused, exploited, or trafficked. Anyone can commit sexual grooming – regardless of their age, gender, race, occupation, or social status.

Furthermore, grooming can occur over any period of time. Some predators take weeks to groom a victim, while others will wait years. This is an especially important point for parents, as they may be inclined to leave their guards down once becoming familiar with a teacher, coach, or clergy member.

What are the Warning Signs of Sexual Predator Grooming in Children?

The ABA confirms that the key to understanding sexual grooming is recognizing common behaviors that predators utilize while applying these tactics on victims for abuse.

According to the ABA, “common sexual grooming behaviors are often subtle and may not appear inappropriate to the untrained eye.”

Specific behaviors outlined by the ABA include:

  • When an adult is overly interested in a child
  • When an adult gives a child special privileges (e.g. rides to and from practices, etc.)
  • When an adult frequently initiates or creates opportunities to be alone with a child (or multiple children)
  • When an adult becomes fixated on a child
  • When an adult befriends a family (but shows more interest in building a relationship with the child than with the adults)
  • When an adult displays favoritism towards one child within a family
  • When an adult seeks opportunities to buy a child gifts
  • When an adult caters to the interests of a child (so a child or the parent may initiate contact with the offender)

How Does California AB 218 Impact Childhood Sexual Abuse Claims?

For childhood sex crimes, the California statute of limitations is temporarily paused under Assembly Bill 218 (AB 218). AB 218, which took effect on January 1, 2020, tolls (pauses) the statute of limitations on all childhood sex crimes through the end of 2022.

In other words, all survivors of childhood sexual abuse or assault may currently file civil claims/lawsuits seeking financial compensation until December 31, 2022. However, as of January 1, 2023, the standard statute of limitations will resume, and survivors who did not file claims will likely be left without any legal recourse.

Additionally, California AB 218 includes a treble damages award clause which gives the courts latitude to triple financial settlements or verdicts in cases where a cover-up is proven. For example, if you are a sexual abuse survivor who was victimized through a systemic cover-up (at either an individual or institutional level), and that malfeasance was able to be proven in court, a $1 million damages award could theoretically be increased to $3 million under the AB 218 treble damages clause.

AB 218’s treble damages clause was included in the legislation in an effort to severely punish bad actors who participated in systemic cover-ups, often over the course of several decades. Such cover-ups in organizations including the Boy Scouts of America and Catholic Church have impacted countless innocent survivors, but AB 218 offers all victims an opportunity at justice.

For additional information on California AB 218 and how it offers survivors of childhood sexual abuse an unprecedented opportunity at justice, please visit our recent blog post.

Contact a Los Angeles, California, Childhood Sexual Abuse Lawyer

California childhood sexual abuse civil lawsuits may be brought in an effort to recover financial compensation for various types of losses. Depending on the circumstances of childhood sex crime, compensatory damages may be pursued and recovered through a civil claim.

Examples of some common damages that may be secured through a California childhood sexual assault or abuse civil claim include:

  • Counseling or therapy expenses
  • Emotional trauma
  • Psychological distress
  • Lost wages
  • Lost earning capacity
  • Diminished quality of life
  • Pain and suffering
  • Hospital or medical expenses

Although children impacted by sexual abuse are currently eligible to file civil claims regardless of when a crime occurred, the statute of limitations is different for adult survivors of sexual violence.

For adult sexual assault survivors, the California statute of limitations on sex crimes allows you to file a civil claim up to 10 years after an incident. Moreover, the statute of limitations allows for a three-year window in civil claims where sexual assaults lead to the discovery of a psychological injury, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Free California Child Sexual Abuse Lawyer Consultation

DLG is a leading California-based sex crimes firm representing survivors across the United States. DLG offers survivors a unique type of legal representation which includes a four-tiered team of professionals known as the SAJE Team.

Led by Sam Dordulian, DLG’s experienced childhood sexual abuse lawyers have helped countless survivors secure maximum financial damages awards.

If you experienced a sexual assault incident, don’t wait to file a claim. Contact our expert attorneys online or by phone for a free consultation today.

Some of our recent sex crime civil lawsuit victories include:

For a free and confidential consultation regarding your coach or teacher childhood sexual abuse civil claim, contact a member of DLG’s SAJE Team today at 818-322-4056. Our childhood sex crime attorneys have helped victims recover more than $100,000,000 in settlements and verdicts while maintaining a 98% success record.


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