2017-07-13 / Community

Allegations levied against youth coach

Former student says they had a sexual relationship
By Dawn Megli-Thuna


ACCUSED—Vincent Thomas, a longtime area soccer coach, was arrested this week after police say a former player came forward with allegations of sexual abuse. Said a longtime associate: “I’ve never been so shocked by anything in my whole life.” 
Courtesy of VCSO ACCUSED—Vincent Thomas, a longtime area soccer coach, was arrested this week after police say a former player came forward with allegations of sexual abuse. Said a longtime associate: “I’ve never been so shocked by anything in my whole life.” Courtesy of VCSO A longtime Ventura County youth soccer coach has been arrested on suspicion of committing sexual acts with one of his players from 2007 to 2009, police said.

Vincent Thomas, 47, was taken into custody July 10 in Camarillo following an investigation by the Thousand Oaks Police Department into an accusation by a former player.

The player told TOPD in June that she and Thomas had a sexual relationship that started 10 years ago, when she was between 14 and 16 years old, police said, not wanting to disclose her exact age.

Thomas pleaded not guilty Tuesday at his arraignment in Ventura County Superior Court.

He’s charged with committing a lewd act upon a child, penetration by a foreign object and oral copulation with a person under 18.

Before arresting Thomas on Monday, detectives served a search warrant at his Thousand Oaks home, seeking any evidence of the relationship. It’s not clear if anything was recovered from the residence.

Thomas has been a youth soccer coach in the Ventura County area for the past 20 years, according to police.

Detective Tim Lohman, TOPD spokesperson, said he could not say what evidence law enforcement had against Thomas beyond the victim’s testimony until officers complete their investigation into possible additional victims.

According to the Camarillo-based Eagles Soccer Club website, Thomas is director of coaching for girls’ soccer. His bio on the site said he has been coaching club and high school soccer since 1992 and currently coaches the club’s girls’ under 18 Premier team, the girls’ U-16 Premier team and the girls’ U-12 Gold team.

“As the girls’ coaching director he brings a passion for soccer and a desire to serve the players and trainers as a mentor and role model, educating them in the value of competition, hard work and fun,” the bio read.

Thomas’ profile on the website has been removed.

Bob Kelley is the legal advisor for the Eagles Soccer Club. His wife, Kathleen, is the club’s board president. He said Thomas, whom he has known for 20 years, has been suspended from his position. He said he does not expect Thomas to return.

“I’ve never been so shocked by anything in my whole life,” said Kelley, who is on the board of the Pleasant Valley Recreation and Park District. “If there was anything we could have done to prevent this, we would have.”

In the aftermath of the arrest, Kelley said, the top priority for the 40-year-old club is to maintain an environment where players and parents can feel safe.

“This is more than legal stuff. This is relationship stuff, it’s social,” he said. “It’s a matter of trust.”

Kelley said the club is reviewing its policies to make sure they can prevent any type of impropriety from happening.

“Whatever we did before to keep kids safe, we’ll double it,” he said.

Due to the accused’s many years as a coach of female soccer players throughout Ventura County, TOPD is requesting anyone with relevant information about Thomas to call Detective Darin Yanover at (805) 494-8229.

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