Ex-Coach Accused Of Having Sex With Teen Cheerleaders
South Florida Crime
BOCA RATON (CBSMiami) – A former Boca Raton cheerleading coach has been accused of having sex with two teenage girls and the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office suspects there may more victims that have not come forward.
Michael Venditto, 27, was arrested Wednesday and charged with lascivious battery.
Investigators started looking into Venditto last June when a 16-year-old Lake Worth girl came forward and said she had sex with him when he coached and recruited for the Palm Beach Lightning.
The girl told investigators she started with the Lightning in 2009 when she was 14 years old.
Venditto and the girl struck up a friendship. Over time their text messages turned sexual in nature and they sent nude photos to each other, according to the sheriff’s office.
The two reportedly had sexual contact over two dozen times in the ensuing two years. In 2011, they stopped seeing each other, according to the sheriff’s office. The teen reportedly told detectives she didn’t immediately tell the owners of the Lightning what had happened because she didn’t want to ruin the team’s chances of going to the world championship.
When she eventually told the owners in June 2011, Venditto was fired.
During the course of their investigation detectives interviewed a second teen who reportedly had sex with Venditto.
The teen, now 18, told detectives in 2011 Venditto was giving her a ride home from practice in his Jeep when he pulled into a Kentucky Fried Chicken.
The teen said he then jumped in the back seat and asked her to join him.
He then pulled her into the back seat where they reportedly had sex, according to the sheriff’s office.
After that, the teen told detectives, she only saw Venditto after that but they didn’t talk.
When asked why she didn’t to the police, the girl said she thought by quitting the team and not calling him or seeing him, it wouldn’t happen again.
Venditto is being held on $15,000 bond.