SANTA ANA, Calif. – A former girls’ high school and club basketball coach was convicted today of sexually assaulting four young girls he coached. One girl testified that in addition to being sexually assaulted, the defendant had her run topless during private practices. Another testified that she was promised more playing time in exchange for engaging in sex acts. His victims ranged in age between 11 and 17 years old.
A jury found Carlos Francisco Juarez, 48, of Costa Mesa, guilty of 10 felony counts of lewd act upon a child under 14, seven felony counts of lewd act upon a child and two felony counts each of oral copulation of a minor under the age of 16 and sexual penetration by foreign object of a minor.
He faces a maximum sentence of 150 years to life in prison. He is scheduled to be sentenced on August 9, 2023.
Juarez primarily coached for club basketball teams, including So Cal Swoosh and O.C. Mustangs, but also worked at Aliso Niguel, Costa Mesa, Mater Dei, and Tustin high schools. He is accused of coaching each of his four victims at some point between 2005 and 2010.
In 2005, one victim who was 11 years old at the time took private lessons from Juarez at a gym in Tustin where Juarez had the girl practice topless after he initially sought to have her remove all her clothes. He is also accused of sexually assaulting the girl after a practice and then giving her an envelope of money.
Juarez was convicted of sexually assaulting three more of his young players, including moving into the home of a 13-year-old girl where he continued to engage in repeated sexual abuse. The abuse continued for more than four years.
Juarez was convicted of sexually assaulting a 14-year-old girl he was also coaching during private basketball lessons in 2008, and forcing a 13-year-old basketball player to perform a sex act on him in exchange for the promise of becoming a starter.
“Coaches are entrusted to help student-athletes be the very best in their respective sports – not to groom or exploit them for their own perverted gratification,” said Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer. “These young women will forever bear the trauma of being sexually assaulted by someone they should have been able to trust. He robbed these young girls of their innocence – and he victimized girl after girl until he finally got caught.”
Deputy District Attorney Raquel Cooper of the Sexual Assault Unit is prosecuting this case.