A fifth person has filed a civil lawsuit against the American Youth Soccer Organization after a Lancaster coach was sentenced to 130 years in prison for molesting 15 children in 2014.
“AYSO has to be responsible for its actions,” said Paul Mones, an attorney for the unnamed person identified as John Doe 5 on Tuesday at a news conference in Torrance.
Renoir Vincent Valenti was sentenced in April 2014 after he molested 14 boys and a young girl between 1995 and 2012, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office said previously. Of the 14 boys, six were soccer players he coached, the DA’s Office said.
The victims of the 54-year-old man ranged in age from 8 to 12 years old.
On Tuesday, Mones said the person identified as John Doe 5 was not a victim in the criminal case.
“Unfortunately, in many cases where children are sexually abused most of them don’t come forward in a criminal case,” Mones said. “In this case, he did not come forward at that time.”
Another attorney at the news conference, Irwin Zalkin, said the AYSO was “aware” the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department’s Child Abuse Unit was investigating Valenti and he was not cooperating with their investigation.
The AYSO, a non-profit organization with offices in Torrance, allowed him to register and reregister as a coach, Zalkin said.
Additionally, Valenti was investigated by law enforcement in 2003 and charged with domestic violence in 1996 and 1998, he said.
“There was a long history if they’d done the right background check,” Zalkin said.
The attorneys previously filed a civil lawsuit in 2015 against the AYSO on behalf of four plaintiffs who were also described as John Does that were minors when the alleged sexual assault began.
In February 2014, the AYSO issued a statement after Valenti was found guilty of molesting the children over 17 years.
“This case is a painful reminder of just how high the stakes are when it comes to our children. The need for constant vigilance has never been greater. Everyone—from organized youth sports programs to commercial facilities that cater to children to law enforcement to individual parents—must share in the responsibility of protecting our kids, and we must all work together as we continue trying to identify ways to improve our existing child protection systems.”