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Bishop Amat teacher suspended after allegation of 'inappropriate conduct' with girl

The girls' soccer coach at the La Puente campus is put on leave after an LAPD detective interviews him about an alleged relationship with a student at another school several years ago.

April 14, 2010|By Richard Winton

A Bishop Amat High School teacher and soccer coach has been suspended in connection with an LAPD investigation into alleged "inappropriate conduct" with a female student at a school where he previously coached, Archdiocese of Los Angeles officials said Wednesday.

The San Gabriel Valley school placed Ruben Gonzalez -- head coach of the Bishop Amat girls' soccer team and the state-championship-winning coach at Cerritos College -- on leave after a Los Angeles Police Department detective came to the campus to interview him.

Bishop Amat's president, Msgr. Aidan Carroll, sent a letter to parents at the school March 30 informing them that Gonzalez would be on leave pending the completion of the LAPD investigation into the allegation at another school, "and our school and the Archdiocese are cooperating in that investigation."

LAPD Lt. Paul Vernon said Gonzalez was the subject of an investigation involving an allegation of an "inappropriate relationship" between him and a girl he coached at a school three or four years ago.

Vernon said the allegation was made by the girl's mother to the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services and referred to the LAPD.

He said he could not discuss the details. Sources familiar with the police investigation said the girl is now 19.

Archdiocese officials said Gonzalez's leave was required under archdiocese policy following any allegation of misconduct with a minor.

"The archdiocese takes every allegation concerning a minor very seriously and is currently conducting an investigation into the matter," said Carolina Guevara, an archdiocese spokeswoman.

Authorities have not named the school where the coach worked at the time of the allegation.

Gonzalez, according to his attorney, previously coached soccer at Immaculate Heart school in Los Angeles.

Tomas Requejo, Gonzalez's attorney, said an LAPD detective came to the Bishop Amat campus in La Puente last month and questioned the teacher-coach about a girl's "unsubstantiated allegation."

"We want to quash whatever false allegations are out there," Requejo said.

Gonzalez's attorney said the coach had a reputation built over two decades in soccer to uphold and did not recognize the girl's name.

The attorney said Gonzalez immediately informed the Catholic school and Cerritos College, where he also coached the women's soccer team.

richard.winton@latimes.com

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