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Stanislaus County, CA – A former volunteer high school coach, David Odom, 38, of Merced, was arrested on Wednesday, May 29, 2024, facing charges related to sexual acts with a minor. The Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Office initiated an investigation after a witness spotted Odom parked in a vehicle with an underage girl in an orchard in February.

In 2009, Odom worked as a volunteer assistant coach at Waterford High School located at 121 S Reinway Ave, Waterford, CA 95386. He also worked as a youth group volunteer at Community Bible Church located at 14143 Yosemite Blvd, Waterford, CA 95386, in 2012. However, most recently, he served as a volunteer track coach from 2021 to 2023 at Hughson High School located at 7419 E Whitmore Ave, Hughson, CA 95326.

Past Allegations Resurface After CA High School Coach Arrested for Child Sex Abuse

During the investigation, detectives uncovered a prior incident from 2013, where Odom was reportedly involved in a relationship with a 16-year-old girl. Although the case was initially closed due to lack of evidence, the now-adult victim admitted to detectives that she had a sexual relationship with Odom at the time.

Community Outrage After Coach /Youth Group Leader Accused of Sex Crimes With Minors

Keadan Lara, a former student mentored by Odom, expressed relief that action is being taken, stating, “I looked at him as a father figure, for most of the time that I knew him. He was strong, good-looking, and had good family aspects. So there really wasn’t a lot to not like about him.”

Lara’s mother, Kimberly, knew some of the alleged victims and expressed her heartbreak, saying, “It’s not acceptable. I knew these young women who were possibly involved and who didn’t want to come forward. And that breaks my heart. No young woman should ever have to go through that, especially someone who’s trusted in the community.”

Recent Termination from Coaching Position

While serving as a volunteer track coach at Hughson High School in Hughson, Odom was terminated from his position after being observed holding hands with a former female student who was 18 years old at the time, according to Superintendent Brenda Smith.

Call for Justice And Other Victims to Come Forward

Keadan Lara encouraged any other potential victims to come forward, stating, “You have a lot of people on your side, who now that they know about his crimes, will be looking to get justice on your behalf, even if you never come forward.”

Authorities continue to investigate the case, and more details are expected to emerge in the coming days.

School Sex Abuse Attorney Weighs In: Legal Recourse for Coach Sexual Abuse Victims

The arrest of former volunteer high school coach David Odom on charges involving sexual acts with a minor has sent shockwaves through the community. As the disturbing allegations continue to unfold, many are questioning what legal options are available to victims of sexual abuse by trusted figures like coaches. In an interview, we spoke with Mike Pfau, Esq., an experienced California sexual abuse lawyer, who provided a perspective on the rights of victims and how to hold negligent parties accountable in such cases.

Attorney Laurence Banville: Joining us now is Mike Pfau, Esq., an experienced California sexual abuse lawyer, to discuss the legal implications of this disturbing case. What rights do victims have when sexually abused by a high school coach?

Mike Pfau, Esq.: Victims of sexual abuse by coaches have legal rights to pursue civil lawsuits against not only the perpetrator but also the school district or organization that employed or gave access to the coach. Schools have a duty to protect students and can be held accountable if negligence enabled the abuse.

Banville: How can victims and their families hold negligent parties responsible?

Pfau: Civil lawsuits can seek to hold the school district liable for damages like past and future counseling costs, pain and suffering, and more. An experienced attorney investigates to uncover any institutional negligence, like failing to properly vet coaches or not responding adequately to past red flags.

Banville: What’s your advice for victims in this case or others involving coach sexual abuse?

Pfau: Come forward and exercise your legal rights. Though incredibly difficult, reporting abuse allows law enforcement to investigate and prevents future victims. Consult a lawyer to understand your options for justice and compensation from all responsible parties.

Seek Justice: Contact Us for a Free Consultation

Victims of sexual abuse by coaches or other trusted individuals at a high school have legal rights and options to pursue justice and compensation. If you or a loved one has experienced such trauma, know that you are not alone. The path forward can be difficult, but an experienced attorney can guide you through the process and fight to hold all responsible parties accountable. We encourage any victims or families impacted by coach sexual abuse to contact us for a free, confidential consultation. Together, we can work to ensure your voice is heard and your rights are protected.

Sources:

https://fox40.com/news/local-news/stanislaus-county/merced-volunteer-coach-arrested-david-odom-waterford-stanislaus-county/

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