Water Polo Player Claims School Turned ‘Blind Eye’ to Complaints About Coach Bahram Hojreh

Bahram Hojreh coaches kids at his water polo club in 2013. (Photo by ROSE PALMISANO, ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER/SCNG)
Photo Courtesy: ROSE PALMISANO

An unnamed female former water polo player, referred to as “Jane HA Doe” in court filings, has filed a lawsuit in Orange County Superior Court that Bahram Hojreh sexually abused, molested and harassed her between the ages of 15 and 17 under the guise of coaching while she was a student at University High, according to a report from the Orange County Register. She is the tenth woman to file a suit against Hojreh, claiming he sexually abused them when they were teenagers while he was their coach.

The suit filed against Bahram Hojreh and the Irvine Unified School District is the first to link Hojreh to alleged sexual abuse at University High, as he had been accused of inappropriate conduct at nearby Los Alamitos High School. The suit alleges that University High administrators and employees over the course of nearly 20 years repeatedly ignored student and parent complaints about the coach.

Nine women allege in suits against the Anaheim Union High School District (AUHSD), International Water Polo (IWP) and USA Water Polo that Hojreh sexually assaulted them as teenagers on multiple occasions at IWP and Kennedy High School in the AUHSD.

He was arrested in April 2018 on 22 charges ranging from sexual battery, lewd act with an individual under 14, and sexual penetration of a minor with a foreign object, according to arrest records and court filings. Later that year in September he was accused by former players in the AUHSD for “sexual battery, negligence, emotional distress and false imprisonment.”

Bahram Hojreh had been coaching at five different schools in southern California across a two-decade span and had been terminated on record over five times for inappropriate conduct ranging from verbally and emotionally abusive behavior to inappropriate behavior with female students.

“As a walk-on water polo coach, Mr. Hojreh coached intermittently on a part-time basis at University High School and was not part of the school’s regular staff,” Annie Brown, an IUSD spokesperson, said in a statement. “He was released by IUSD in March 2017 for reasons unrelated to any such claims.  Due to confidentiality laws, I’m unable to further discuss the details of Mr. Hojreh’s employment but I can confirm that during his time with IUSD, he was never the subject of any allegations or complaints related to sexual misconduct.  Throughout his period of employment, no complaints of sexual misconduct were reported to our school, the District or the Irvine Police Department.

“In response to the statement that Bahram Hojreh was fired, I can confirm that he was not fired in 2000 or 2007.  Walk-on coaches are itinerant employees.  Mr. Hojreh served as a walk-on coach at University High School for approximately five years over an 18 year period.”

To read the full story from the Orange County Register, click here.

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