Two Los Angeles County sheriff’s detectives and a prosecutor were honored Wednesday for their work with victims of a soccer coach convicted of child molestation in a case involving 15 young boys and one girl.
Sheriff’s Detectives Timothy MacLean and Susan Velazquez and Deputy District Attorney Jon Hatami were feted at a luncheon in Alhambra for their sensitive treatment of the victims in the complex case.
“The award is for the boys. They were the victims in this case,” Hatami said. “I’m just lucky to have a job to fight for kids who can’t fight for themselves, and to be able to bring justice for those boys.”
Renoir Vincent Valenti, a longtime American Youth Soccer Organization coach, was convicted in February of 20 counts and faces a maximum sentence of 150 years to life when he goes before a judge on April 18.
The trial in Lancaster involved 58 witnesses and 143 exhibits, according to the sheriff’s department.
“I’m happy for the award, but I’m more happy we prosecuted the defendant and he’s going to serve the rest of his life in prison and he’s not going to be able to abuse any other boys in Los Angeles,” Hatami said.
MacLean said he was humbled to be honored alongside his fellow investigative team.
“It’s even more satisfying to know or to believe at least in some way we were able to give the victims in this case some closure,” MacLean said.