Wrestling Coach Sought For Alleged Sexual Assault Arrested at LAX

Authorities had been searching for Herbert Ortiz since September, after at least two boys claimed to have been sexually abused by the 29 year old.

View Comments (
)
|
Email
|
Print

    NEWSLETTERS

    Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department
    Herbert Ortiz

    An ex-assistant wrestling coach from Rosemead High School wanted for months on suspicion of sexual assault was nabbed in Mexico while trying to obtain a travel Visa, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department announced Thursday.

    Herbert Ortiz, 29, was arrested on Tuesday at LAX by LAPD officers and U.S. Marshals, the sheriff's department said. Ortiz traveled back to LA from Guadalajara, Mexico, with Mexican Immigration Officials.

    A warrant for Ortiz’s arrest had been active since September, officials said.

    When the ex-coach attempted to obtain a Visa to travel to Guatamala, Mexican officials were alerted to Ortiz’s wanted status.

    Detectives believe Ortiz fled the U.S. to avoid prosecution after an alleged victim claimed in a YouTube video that he’d been sexually abused by the 29 year old. That video was seen by a woman whose 14-year-old son, upon being asked by his mother, also claimed to have been abused by Ortiz.

    In that video, an alleged victim urged area parents to "protect their children," the sheriff’s department said. Detectives in September said Ortiz was aware of the video, which has since been taken down.

    Officials said the alleged abuse started when the 14 year old was befriended by Ortiz, who worked as an assistant wrestling coach for Rosemead High School from 2007 to 2009. Since 2010, Ortiz has worked as a wrestling instructor of the Bad News Panthers Children Wrestling Club in Rosemead.

    The club's website lists him as the founder. He was also listed as coach at a high school in Virginia.
    Rosemead City Manager Jeff Allred said in September that Ortiz himself had alerted the city to the video and denied the allegations. The city then suspended his participation in the club, which rents city owned space.

    Investigators say the alleged crimes occurred in the cities of Rosemead, El Monte and Baldwin Park.
    Ortiz was booked in LA on suspicion of committing lewd acts upon a minor. Bail has been set at $215,000.

    Anyone with information is asked to contact Special Victims Bureau detectives with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department at 1-877-710-LASD (5273) or by e-mail at specialvictimsbureau@lasd.org.

    NBC4's Lolita Lopez contributed to this report.