The redemptive story of a former L.A. gang member who turned his life around and became a youth boxing coach has taken a disturbing turn after the now 45-year-old man was arrested for molesting one of his 15-year-old pupils.
As reported by NBC Los Angeles, KTLA, KCAL, the Los Angeles Times and a variety of other Los Angeles sources, Anthony Serrano has been arrested for allegedly molesting a teen boxing who was training with him as many as 50 times over a period of a single year. The teen was allegedly afraid to tell anyone about the abuse until the family finally left the Santa Ana area, leading to an investigation and charges against Serrano, who has frequently been praised by local media and police as a "father figure."
In fact, according to the Los Angeles Times, Serrano even used his alleged victim's lack of a father as a tool to get exert power over him, asking the teen to call him "Dad."
While the alleged victim had been a member of Serrano's Santa Ana Boxing Gym for five years, the coach began spending a considerable amount of time with the teen at tournaments, the club and even the coach's house three years ago.
Troublingly, the Orange County Register reported that Serrano had been investigated for inappropriate contact with another of his boxers in 2008, but nothing came of the investigation and he was allowed to continue coach. It appears that may have allowed him to continue abusing at least one of his charges as well.
Serrano was booked into Santa Ana jail and held on $100,000 bond in connection with suspicion of lewd and lascivious acts. If the allegations against him hold true, he could have an effect on the Los Angeles boxing scene not unlike the one Jerry Sandusky had on Penn State as a whole.
"That's what's so disheartening," Santa Ana Corporal Anthony Bertagna told KCAL. "He portrays himself as a mentor and father figure and he takes advantage of that."