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California water polo coach charged with molesting 7 girls


SANTA ANA, Calif. (AP) — A coach who ran a club affiliated with USA Water Polo has been charged with the sexual abuse of seven girls, months after his group was kicked off a Southern California military base, prosecutors announced Wednesday.

Bahram Hojreh faces charges including sexual battery, lewd acts upon a child, and sexual penetration by foreign object of a minor, according to a filing this week in Orange County Superior Court. There was no answer Wednesday at a phone number listed in Hojreh's name and it wasn't immediately known if he has an attorney.

The crimes occurred between 2014 and last year against juvenile victims as young as 10 years old, court papers said.

The International Water Polo Club was removed from using the pool at the joint military base in Los Alamitos after police informed base officials they were investigating allegations involving "sexual misconduct" against Hojreh, said Col. Richard Lalor, a spokesman for the base.

Hojreh touts himself as a coach for nearly a quarter-century who has "helped develop multiple Olympians." He currently serves on the board of directors for the local Southern California chapter of USA Water Polo, the governing body for water polo in the United States. USA Water Polo didn't immediately respond to a request for comment

Hojreh was a water polo coach at University High School in Irvine, but his employment ended in March 2017, said Annie Brown, a spokeswoman for the Irvine Unified School District.

Citing confidentiality laws, Brown declined to provide additional information about the circumstances surrounding Hojreh's employment, but said there were no reports to school officials of sexual misconduct involving the coach.

Hojreh had also coached at Kennedy High School in Anaheim, but district officials declined to provide any information about his employment. Hojreh's name was removed from the school's website after the AP inquired about his employment status.

The International Water Polo Club was registered as a nonprofit organization, but did not register with the California attorney general's office. After inquiries from The Associated Press, the attorney general's office sent a letter to Hojreh warning him that his organization was "both unregistered and, consequentially, delinquent for past filings."

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