Courts & Law

18-year sentence for coach

AN ORANGE COUNTY Superior Court judge sentenced a prominent youth water polo coach to 18 years and four months in prison for sexually assaulting young girls (Shutterstock).

A prominent Orange County water polo coach sentenced Friday to 18 years and four months of sexually assaulting nine teenage girls he trained and assaulting a tenth athlete over a five year period. 

Many of the assaults occurred underwater during training sessions at the Olympic-size pool at the Joint Forces Training Base in Los Alamitos unbeknownst to parents watching from the poolside.

Bahram Hojreh, 46, of Irvine, was convicted by a jury in November 2022 of 22 felony counts including sexual battery, sexual penetration, and lewd acts on a child involving nine water polo players between the ages of 13 and 17 years old from 2012 to 2017. The jury convicted Hojreh of the lesser included charge of simple assault of one of the Jane Does.

The jury also found Hojreh used his position of trust as a sought-after club and high school water polo coach to sexually abuse the young girls.

Hojreh was immediately taken into custody following the verdict.

Over the course of several weeks, a dozen young women testified Hojreh touched their breasts, twisted their nipples, touched their genitals above and below their swimsuits and digitally penetrated them underwater during coaching sessions – actions he explained were to “toughen them up” for competition.  On the stand, the victims testified that they believed Hojreh’s reputation as an accomplished water polo coach was key to fulfilling their dreams of playing at the collegiate level. Hojreh testified in his own defense, denied the allegations.

In 2017, several of Hojreh’s players – then ranging in age from 14 to 17 – began to discuss the sexual abuse by their coach and in early 2018 a few of the girls confided in their parents who reported it to law enforcement.

In addition to coaching the International Water Polo Club in Los Alamitos, Hojreh also coached at Kennedy High School in La Palma. Hojreh has been banned from life from participating in USA Water Polo events.

Deputy District Attorney Raquel Cooper of the Sexual Assault Unit prosecuted this case.

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