A Rosemead wrestling coach is wanted in connection with allegations he sexually assaulted a 14-year-old boy, whose mother discovered a YouTube video by another alleged victim urging area parents to "protect their children," according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.
Police are searching for 29-year-old Herbert Daniel Ortiz, aka Herbert Ortiz Monroy, in connection with the alleged abuse.
Ortiz is described as a Latino man, standing 5-feet-8-inches tall and weighing about 160 pounds. His last known residence was in Baldwin Park, sheriff’s officials said.
Sheriff’s say the 14-year-old boy told his mother about the alleged abuse after she recognized Ortiz from a YouTube video in which another boy alleged he was victimized by the coach, sheriff’s officials said. When she asked her 14-year-old son if he had been victimized, he told her yes, officials said.
"During follow-up investigation, detectives learned that the suspect had knowledge that the 'Youtube' video had been posted to the internet," sheriff’s officials said in a statement released late Tuesday.
The video was taken down by investigators, the Sheriff's Department said.
Officials say 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, which was not working Wednesday morning, lists him as the founder. He was also listed as coach at a high school in Virginia.
Rosemead City Manager Jeff Allred said Wednesday that Ortiz himself had alerted the city to the video last week and denied the allegations. The city then suspended his participation in the club, which rents city-owned space. Allred said the city was working with the sheriff's department.
Superintendent Nick Salerno of El Monte Union High School District, which runs Rosemead High, said there had been no allegations against Ortiz during his time as a coach at the campus. Salerno couldn't comment on why Ortiz left the school but said it had "nothing to do" with "this situation."
The district said Ortiz was not a teacher at the school, and it is assuring parents that he is not currently employed there, nor will be on campus. Ortiz had himself attended Rosemead High, and had wrestled there.
Investigators say the alleged crimes occurred in the cities of Rosemead, El Monte and Baldwin Park. They believe Ortiz is intentionally eluding detectives from the Sheriff’s Special Victims Bureau, which have been unable to locate the 29-year-old coach.
Officials are asking anyone with information 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.