On April 19, 2022, the US Marshal Service arrested a Broward County cheerleading coach for sexual misconduct with his then 14-year-old student. Raul Albites, age 39, was an employee and coach at Broward Elite All-Stars gym in Davie, Florida. Albites met the girl when she began cheerleading training at Broward Elite at age 11. According to media reports, Albites and the teen initially had private coaching sessions. The close mentoring relationship changed when Raul Albites began sending the minor inappropriate, sexually-charged text messages and then progressed to unlawful sexual abuse. Albites’ misconduct led the girl to believe she was in a romantic relationship with her coach.
According to law enforcement records, in August 2020, the victim’s mother witnessed Albites embracing and kissing her daughter behind the gym near a trash dumpster. When the mother confronted Albites, he claimed it was a misunderstanding and just a friendly kiss on the cheek. She also noticed inappropriate daily texting and FaceTiming with her daughter even when not at the gym. The mother later looked through her daughter’s cellphone and discovered texts between her daughter and Albites that said he loved her and “that he would leave his wife when she turned 18, so they could get married.” Albites also wrote, “I sleep and dream of you … and I am committed to what we are doing.” Albites clearly knew he was in the wrong, as texts showed him writing, “I have everything to lose to be with you.”
Reports state that the now 16-year-old teenager confessed to prosecutors that Albites attempted to “digitally penetrate her vagina” and touched her breasts and buttocks. She stated she was too scared to come forward for two years.
Albites was charged with enticement of a minor and is currently in the Broward County Jail. According to court documents, the Judge found “clear and convincing evidence that Albites presents a danger to the community and that there are no conditions or combination of conditions that will reasonably assure the safety of others and the community if Albites is released before trial.” Albites faces a possible mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years and a maximum sentence of up to life in prison.
Broward Elite All-Stars has permanently closed since COVID-19, but another student told reporters that she “always felt something was just not right with him.” Another former coach at Broward Elite stated, “I don’t even know if I can put it into words. To me, it’s just absolutely horrifying and disgusting.” She also noted that the gym took the safety and security of its students very seriously. She said the gym had two cameras in the gym and in the back office and that background checks were required. She thinks there could be more victims.
It should be expected that any institutions in which children learn and develop skills offer an environment in which they are safe from predatory sexual abuse. Athletic coaches are entrusted to facilitate learning and support the educational and training needs of their players. Anyone who sexually violates children has no place working in community or school athletic programs. Any organization in which such a crime is committed must take responsibility for failing to properly screen potential coaches and protect their players.
Horowitz Law is a law firm representing survivors of sexual abuse. We have handled multiple cases of sexual abuse by authority figures in schools. If you or a loved one was sexually abused, assaulted, raped, or molested by a coach, principal, teacher, or other school employees, contact our law firm at 888-283-9922 or send an e-mail to sexual abuse lawyer Adam Horowitz at [email protected] for a free consultation.