Several other young men have told detectives they were sexually abused as teenagers by Clyde Ezra Turner, the renowned high school track coach arrested this week on suspicion of molesting a 15-year-old boy, Pasadena police said Wednesday.
"We've had several phone calls--some of them relating experiences from a long time ago--allegations similar to the original incident," said Pasadena Police Lt. Keith Jones.
Jones said it can be difficult for victims to talk about experiences such as child molestation. "It takes a brave person to come forward," he said, but the young men calling in seem to be relieved by the opportunity to unburden themselves.
"They were duped by Mr. Turner," the police lieutenant said. "They lived with it a long time. They now realize they are not the only one this happened to."
Turner, who has denied allegations that he molested the 15-year-old boy, could not be reached for comment. But in an interview published Wednesday, Turner denied the charges, saying that "those who know me and know what I'm about know that this is not me.
"All I've been trying to do is help people," the coach told the Pasadena Star-News. "Now I need support from whoever in the community can help me."
Jones said that all those who have come forward thus far are athletes who, at some point, were associated with the track or football teams at Pasadena's John Muir High School.
Turner, a onetime national track coach of the year at Muir, also helped coach the school's football team. Several men now playing in the National Football League call him for advice, the coach told a Times reporter last year.
The coach was arrested Monday after parents complained to school authorities that he had molested their son. Turner was released Tuesday on $100,00 bail and is scheduled for arraignment May 28 on charges of lewd and lascivious conduct with a minor and exhibiting harmful material with intent to seduce a minor.
Turner, a 19-year employee of the Pasadena Unified School District, also works as a truant officer at Charles W. Eliot Middle School in Altadena. He has been placed on administrative leave from both jobs.
In a police report filed Monday, Turner acknowledged inviting the 15-year-old boy to his home last week, but said it was at the boy's suggestion--not his--that they watch a pornographic video together.
Turner said he "might have rubbed up against the victim a couple of times, which might have given the victim the wrong idea," according to the report.
Several parents of students say rumors have circulated for years that Turner behaved inappropriately with some teenage athletes.
However, school officials say there never were any formal or official complaints against the coach on which any action could be taken until the parents of the 15-year-old boy came forward Monday morning.