Former coach sentenced

Erin Fox, Managing Editor

Former Cal High head wrestling coach Kevin Lopez was sentenced last month to more than 10 years in prison after pleading guilty to eight felonies related to his inappropriate acts with three minors, prosecutors said.

The eight felonies Lopez pleaded guilty to on Feb. 6 in Contra Costa County Superior Court included lewd and lascivious acts with male minors, and other related charges, according to assistant district attorney Alison Chandler.

“There were three victims, all under the age of 18,” said Chandler. “[The victims are] kids that [Lopez] identified through his community outreach.”

Lopez, who turns 28 on Saturday, had been involved as a coach with Cal’s wrestling program since graduating from the school in 2005. He was the head wrestling coach from 2012 until he was fired on Sept. 9, 2014, following his arrest. Lopez was also a volunteer youth pastor at New Life Church in Alamo.

“We gave [Lopez] a deal where we offered him to plead to certain felonies, for eight different ones, and I dismissed the rest,” Chandler said. “All the charges require mandatory sex offender registration.”

Lopez’s defense attorney Patrick Clancy said his client agreed to the deal because he was facing a longer sentence.

“Mr. Lopez was facing life in prison and settled for 10 years, 8 months,” said Clancy.

Upon this sentence, Lopez was immediately transferred from the Martinez Detention Facility to a state prison.

“[Lopez] was released from our county custody to the state prison immediately,” said Chandler.

Lopez was originally arrested on Sept. 9 and charged with 20 felonies.

Detective Rob Ransom, who investigates sex crimes for the San Ramon police department and headed up the Lopez investigation, said many of the details of this case could not be disclosed due to its sensitive nature involving juveniles. The case report was also not made public.

Ransom said that prior to Lopez’s September arrest, there was a lot of corroborating evidence against him. Ransom explained that this means that there was initial evidence and then more evidence that came later, which supported and confirmed the case against Lopez.

“Throughout the investigation, there was a lot of evidence that was collected…[We] spoke with a lot of different people,” said Ransom. “Evidence can be photos, videos, text messages, a phone.”

Both Ransom and Chandler said they could not disclose the specific evidence related to the case.

“All the underlying evidence has been sealed by order of the court,” said Chandler.

According to San Jose Mercury News, Lopez’s crimes were committed between 2003-2014.

Because Lopez graduated from Cal in 2005, his illegal actions date back to when he was still in high school.

After Lopez graduated, he was offered an assistant wrestling coach position, and after seven seasons, he was promoted to head coach in 2012. He was a standout varsity wrestler his four years at Cal.

“Schools can be a spot, unfortunately, where people can prey upon children, and churches too,” said Ransom. “[Child molesters] work at gaining trust and put themselves where it’s easy to do it. They could be anyone.”