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Riverside County Little League Coach Pleads Guilty to Molesting 4 Brothers

August 04, 2004|Lance Pugmire | Times Staff Writer

A registered sex offender who used a fake name to skirt a criminal background check and become a Little League coach in Riverside County pleaded guilty on Tuesday to molesting four brothers, including a 7-year-old, in the baseball league.

Adolph Ganion, 54, was sentenced to 25 years to life in prison. Ganion looked straight ahead, occasionally glancing to the floor, while listening to a statement from the mother of his victims that was read shorty before Riverside County Superior Court Judge Kenneth Fernandez imposed the sentence.

"Baseball is supposed to be a fun game.... I, as a parent, felt secure entrusting you with my boys," she wrote in a letter read in court by prosecutor Michael Hestrin.

"You took advantage of that trust.... You took innocent children and played with their minds. You toyed with their love and confidence and then abused them."

The youngest of the four boys huddled with his family, hugging his mother and leaning his head into his father's stomach for comfort.

Ganion was convicted of molesting eight boys in separate Los Angeles County criminal cases in 1978 and 1987. He lived in a trailer in Glen Avon in 2001 when he told officials at Jurupa National Little League in Rubidoux that his name was Al Humphrey and that he wanted to coach. He coached for at least three seasons.

"He was patient, very patient, in laying the groundwork to get these children away from their parents," Hestrin said after the hearing.

The mother of Ganion's victims, ages 7 to 12, sobbed in court while accompanied by her husband and four sons.

In her statement, she said she and her husband hired Ganion as an employee at their private business and that Ganion and the boys' father had lunch every day, with Ganion "talking and laughing like a normal person."

Hestrin described Ganion's lewd and lascivious acts with the boys as "sadistic ... he wasn't just touching them; he appeared to take pleasure in watching them suffer. He intentionally caused them to suffer humiliation."

Ganion was arrested in October 2003 after a woman who knew "Al Humphrey" was suspicious of his behavior with children.

When she went to the Sheriff's Department to review the sex-offender database, she spotted Ganion's picture and told authorities that he was coaching under a false name.

Ganion was arrested a short time later.

A previous May plea bargain was withdrawn when a former public defender inappropriately filled out a plea bargain form, indicating Ganion had pleaded guilty only to the illegal name change.

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