Anthony Serrano, a legend in local sports as head of the Santa Ana Boxing Club that has kept many kids out of gangs, recently pleaded guilty to molesting two 14-year-old boys multiple times in his home.
The 45-year-old was sentenced Friday to two years in prison and a lifetime of registration as a sex offender, which effectively ends his youth boxing career.
Editor Gustavo Arellano had been covering this case since Serrano's arrest last July, but he'd also written about the coach's role with the boxing club in a ramshackle gym off Fourth Street.
Serrano coached the boys at the club, and one was so traumatized by the assaults that began in 2006 that he had to get therapy. Serrano told the boy's mother he was lying, according to court testimony. The family tried to get Serrano prosecuted in 2008, but there was no corroboration to sustain charges being filed, according to an Orange County District Attorney's office (OCDA) statement.
The man kept coaching and molestations continued through last year, the OCDA says. After a second 14-year-old came forward, the Santa Ana Police Department launched an investigation that resulted in Serrano's July arrest.
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At Friday's court hearing, the second boy delivered a victim impact statement "describing how the sexual abuse from the defendant has affected his life and talked about how he regularly attends therapy sessions because of the trauma caused by the sexual assault," according to an OCDA press release.
His mother delivered a victim impact statement of her own that laid out how Serrano "made up lies by accusing the victim of being a liar and making the sexual assaults up in order to cover up the abuse," the OCDA adds.
Serrano copped to four felony counts of lewd acts on a child that, with a conviction without a guilty plea, could have sent him away for five years.