A San Jose man who coaches a girls’ soccer team has been arrested on charges of “annoying or molesting” three teenage girls. Ricardo Gutierrez, 34, is accused of conducting untoward behavior toward three of the girls he coached for. Gutierrez surrendered himself to police after the warrant for his arrest was posted.
Gutierrez was working as a walk-on coach for varsity girls’ soccer at Gunderson High School in San Jose, California. As a walk-on coach, he had no official teaching duties. This means he wasn’t on school grounds as often as a full-time teacher and coach, but he did pass a preliminary background check through the school.
It’s unclear if Gunderson High has stringent hiring policies for walk-on coaches like it does for full-time educators. However, the school says it was quick to dismiss Gutierrez and contact the authorities when they were made aware of allegations of untoward conduct.
An investigation into the matter has revealed that the improper conduct occurred on several occasions across the past school year. However, it wasn’t until recently that the girls all came forward with their statements to make the allegations official.
San Jose Unified School District spokesperson Lili Smith stated that “We encourage students to report any inappropriate behavior and we commend those who came forward.” The details of what, exactly, Gutierrez did are unclear, but given the nature of the charges against him we can make a few guesses.
It seems likely that Gutierrez is alleged to have made inappropriate remarks or offers to underaged girls. Whether or not he acted on such propositions, or if he physically assaulted any of them, is unclear, but unlikely.
This is because he is currently charged with three misdemeanors: charges of “annoying or molesting a child under the age of 18.” Given the nature of such charges, it seems unlikely that any physical assault or unwanted physical interaction took place between the coach and the girls.
Anyone with information they can share about this case is encouraged to contact Detective Michael O’Grady at 408-537-1382.