Detectives sought the public’s help Tuesday in tracking down a 29-year-old Baldwin Park man accused of molesting a teenage boy after the alleged victim’s mother was alerted to the abuse by a YouTube video, authorities said.
Herbert Daniel Ortiz, also known as Herbert Ortiz Monroy, molested the teenage boy while working as an assistant wrestling coach at Rosemead High School, where he was employed from 2007 to 2009, Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials said.
Ortiz founded the Bad News Panthers Kids’ Wrestling Program in Rosemead in 2010, and has worked their as coach and program director since, according to sheriff’s investigators and the programs website.
A video posted on YouTube.com helped identify Ortiz as a suspect after the victim’s mother came across it on the Internet, officials said.
“In the video, another male alleged he was victimized by the suspect and was warning viewers, specifically those residing in Rosemead, California, to protect their children,” sheriff’s officials said in a written statement. “The mother recognized the suspect as a former assistant wresting coach at Rosemead High School and asked her 14-year old son if he had been a victim. Her son then disclosed the sexual abuse by the suspect.”
The molestation was ongoing, involving “multiple incidents,” Sgt. Dan Scott of the sheriff’s Special Victims Bureau said. The crimes are alleged to have taken place in Rosemead, Baldwin Park and El Monte.
In the original video, a young man, who is now an adult, said he had been abused by Ortiz, showed his picture and warned others about the abuse, Scott said.
“We have talked to him,” Scott said of the young man who posted the online video. “We’re doing follow up interviews with him. There are allegations dating back to 2002.”
The investigation into the video poster’s allegations remained ongoing, Scott said, and prosecution for the older crimes was a possibility.
Investigators were still looking into whether any formal allegations were made against Ortiz in the past, he added.
“Investigators believe there may be additional victims who may have been sexually abused by the suspect,” the sheriff’s statement said.
Detectives have been unable to find Ortiz, and believe the suspect was aware of the Internet video that had been posted, and that investigators are seeking him, Scott said.
The Bad News Panthers website states that Ortiz, “established the kids wrestling program based on a simple vision of creating an outlet for local youths to come and test their inner strengths; to encourage the kids to challenge themselves, and teaching them to ‘dream big’. His basic principle, ‘Good discipline and good habits will be rewarded with great success on and off the Mat.'”
The website also describes Ortiz as a Rosemead High School graduate and former assistant coach at Granby High School in Virginia.
The website was no longer accessible Wednesday, and representatives of the Bad News Panther’s Kids Wrestling Program could not be reached by telephone.
Scott said investigators are in the process of interviewing wrestlers at the Bad News Panthers club, as well as others who have had contact with Ortiz.
Anyone who spots Ortiz is asked to call 9-1-1 immediately. Parents, possible victims or anyone with information can reach the sheriff’s Special Victims Bureau at 877-710-5273 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Tips can also be submitted anonymously by calling L.A. Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.
PHOTO of Herbert Ortiz courtesy of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department