A former competitive cheerleading coach has been charged with multiple felonies for molesting six girls as young as 11 years old in Southern California.
Erick Joseph Kristianson, a former coach at an Orange County cheer club and at Trabuco Hills High School in Mission Viejo, is also facing child molestation and child exhibition charges in Florida related to four young competitive cheer athletes he coached in Daytona Beach.
The 44-year-old was arrested last week in Fargo, North Dakota, on a warrant in the Orange County case.
Kristianson, of Antioch, Tennessee, is facing seven felony counts of lewd or lascivious acts with a minor under 14, five felony counts of a lewd act upon a child age 14 or 15, two felony counts of sexual penetration by foreign object of a minor under 18, one felony count of sexual penetration by a foreign objection of a minor under 16 and one felony count of oral copulation of a person under 16 years old.
Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer announced that Erick Joseph Kristianson is facing a maximum sentence of 105 years to life in prison, as well as five years and four months if convicted on all charges. (Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)
Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer said in a release that he is facing a maximum sentence of 105 years to life, as well as five years and four months if convicted on all charges.
Kristianson worked as a competitive cheerleading coach at Magic All-Stars from 2002 to 2008 and as an assistant cheer coach at Trabuco Hills High School in 2005, where he is accused of gaining access to six young girls that he molested in Orange County. Those allegations came to light in 2022 after he was arrested in Daytona Beach, Florida, on suspicion of masturbating on camera to three children between the ages of 11 and 13 and touching the breasts of another 13-year-old girl.
All the Florida victims were students of Kristianson’s competitive cheer club in Daytona Beach.
This photograph, provided by the Orange County District Attorney’s Office shows former Orange County cheerleading coach Erick Joseph Kristianson. Kristianson has been charged with molesting girls as young as 11 years old in Southern California, and he faces similar charges in Florida, prosecutors said Wednesday, May 10, 2023. (Orange County Distric Attorney’s Office via AP)
After his arrest in Florida, a young woman reached out to authorities in Orange County to report she had been molested by Kristianson beginning when she was 14 years old while he was her cheer coach.
He is also accused of molesting five other Orange County girls he coached between 2002 and 2007, often taking some of the girls to off-campus events and to his home where he would molest them. The girls ranged in age from 11 to 16 years old.
Last August, Kristianson was arrested in Kansas on a warrant and extradited back to Florida to face charges for exposing himself to three teenage girls during a FaceTime call. He posted a $300,000 bond and was released.
Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer said Erick Joseph Kristianson was “hiding in plain sight as he assaulted girl after girl.” (Photo by Leonard Ortiz/MediaNews Group/Orange County Register via Getty Images)
He is currently being held without bail at the Theo Lacy Facility in Orange.
“This was not a predator hiding in the shadows waiting to grab innocent girls. He was hiding in plain sight as he assaulted girl after girl, thinking he would never be caught because they trusted him as a coach,” the district attorney said in a statement. “Thankfully, he is in custody and the Orange County District Attorney’s Office will do everything it can to ensure he is held accountable for assaulting these young girls who thought they could trust him.”
It was not immediately clear whether he had an attorney to speak on his behalf.
Authorities believe that there may be additional victims and anyone with information on the matter is being asked to call Orange County Sheriff’s Department Investigator Austin Jones at 714- 647-4016.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.