Crime & Justice

LA boxing coach arrested on charges of child molestation

Paul Gonzales, an Olympic gold medalist and the head coach at a boxing gym in East L.A., faces four felony counts of lewd acts upon a child, according to the Sheriff's Department.
Paul Gonzales, an Olympic gold medalist and the head coach at a boxing gym in East L.A., faces four felony counts of lewd acts upon a child, according to the Sheriff's Department.
Courtesy of L.A. County Sheriff's Department
Paul Gonzales, an Olympic gold medalist and the head coach at a boxing gym in East L.A., faces four felony counts of lewd acts upon a child, according to the Sheriff's Department.
In this file photo, Paul Gonzales Jr of the United States stands above silver medallist Salvatore Todisco of Italy on the podium and celebrates winning the Men's Light-Flyweight Boxing final on 11th August 1984 during the XXIII Olympic Summer Games at the Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena.
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An Olympic gold medalist and boxing coach in East Los Angeles has been arrested on suspicion of molesting a child.

Paul Gonzales, 53, was arrested on Dec. 29 and has been charged with eight felonies including four counts of lewd acts upon a child, according to the L.A. County Sheriff's Department. He is also accused of possessing child pornography.

All eight counts are against the same female victim, who is under the age of 14, said Lieutenant Todd Deeds of the L.A. County Sheriff's Department Special Victims Bureau. All of the alleged crimes took place in 2017.

Gonzales brought home the gold in the light flyweight division at the 1984 Summer Olympics, making him the first Mexican-American boxer to win a gold medal.

For the past 10 years, he has worked for the L.A. County Parks and Recreation Department as a coach at the Eddie Heredia Boxing Club in East L.A. The victim was a boxing student at the club, where  Gonzales met her. 

"We believe that he befriended her, that he groomed her and that lewd conduct was committed against her over time," Deeds said. One of the girl's family members contacted the Sheriff's department to report the alleged crime. 

There are usually around 40 boys and 15 girls that participate in the boxing program, and authorities think there may be more victims.

"We’re very concerned that we have more victims out there that have never disclosed to law enforcement," Deeds said.

Gonzales is being held on more than half-a-million dollars bail in the Men's Central Jail in downtown Los Angeles. Gonzales is scheduled to appear in court on Jan. 18.

Sheriff's investigators have asked anyone with information about other victims to contact the Special Victims Bureau at (877) 710-5273.