UPDATED: Hart High Freshman Football Coach Charged With Two Sexual Felonies
UPDATED Friday 3:25 p.m.
According to the Special Victims Bureau of the Los Angeles Sheriff's Department, during late October Suspect Nicolas Ovendale, a 20-year-old resident of Valencia, allegedly engaged in sexual intercourse with a 15-year-old Hart High School student inside his parked vehicle in the Stevenson Ranch area. The victim and Ovendale had come to know each other as a result of the suspect's employment as an assistant coach on the Hart High School football team.
More updated information throughout.
Detectives from the Sheriff's Special Victims Bureau began an investigation into this alleged incident during the first week of November, when it was reported to Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department deputies by school officials.
As a result of the investigation, detectives arrested Ovendale on Thursday, near his residence in Santa Clarita.
"He was arrested for unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor and lewd acts with a child," said Special Victims Bureau Sgt. Brian Hudson.
Hart High School Freshman Football Team Assistant Coach Nicolas Ovendale was taken into custody Thursday morning and booked at the Santa Clarita Sheriff's Station on two felony charges of sex with a minor.
The 20 year-old coach posted the $50,000 bail and was released by 3 p.m.
During a press conference at the Santa Clarita Valley station, sheriff's officials said that the offenses did not occur on campus but in Ovendale's parked car in Stevenson Ranch.
"As far as we know it was a one-time incident," said Hudson.
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A tip led to the discovery of the incident.
"It appears someone anonymously let the school officials know about it. Whether it was a friend of the victim, something to that effect," said Hudson.
Hudson said the victim came forward and cooperated with the investigation. Ovendale was arrested as a result of the investigation.
According to officials, Ovendale faces three to six years in state prison on the oral copulation charge.
Based on the age difference between Ovendale and the victim, Hudson said the sentence structure changes on the charge of unlawful sexual intercourse.
"In this case, I believe a year, over a year in state prison," Hudson said.
The victim and her family are cooperating with investigators.
On the Hart football website, Ovendale is described as a second-year defensive line coach for the freshman team. He played for Hart from 2005 to 2008 on both the offensive and defensive line. The Valencia resident works for a local grocery store and is currently attending College of the Canyons.
"That’s what makes this incident more egregious, because he is in a position of respect or authority at the school and to maybe utilize that to prey on the victim," said Hudson.
Hudson addressed the issue of age difference between the victim and Ovendale. At 20, the suspect is two or three years out of high school.
"The responsibility falls upon the suspect in this case because he is 20 years-old. He’s an adult. They should be considering having relationships with people their own age rather than with children. Which is what the victim is in this case. She’s still a child," Hudson said.
Hudson put an even finer point on the incident.
"A minor can not consent to have sex in the state of California. State law prohibits it. Whether the minor or not was an active participant is not relevant when it comes to state law," said Hudson.
Superintendent Robert Challinor of the William S. Hart Union High School District said, “We are cooperating fully and completely with the Sheriff’s Department. Our number one concern is safety and concern for our students and we will continue to assist the Sheriff’s (Department) with their investigation.”
Hudson agreed the school district acted responsibly.
"Absolutely, when they became aware of the allegation they promptly reported to the School Resource Deputy on campus who in turn notified our bureau," said Hudson.
Ovendale is expected to appear in court November 15.