SEATTLE — A Bellevue cheer coach and owner of Action Athletics now faces child molestation charges after two of his students came forward, alleging he inappropriately touched them.
It’s important to make the distinction that he is not affiliated with any schools, and is a cheer coach for competition cheer teams.
Action Athletics has been in Bellevue for 20 years coaching competitive cheer teams.
"Really these young victims deserve a lot of credit. It takes a lot of courage to come forward,” said Meeghan Black, who is with the Bellevue Police Department.
The owner and head coach, 50-year-old Brian Antich, is now charged with two counts of child molestation and sexual misconduct of a minor. The girls were 15 and 16 years old at the time of the alleged incidents.
“What these young victims have told us is that this coach took them on trips, one of them out of state, he would take them out to dinner, they would go different places alone,” said Black.
According to charging documents, there are photographs that depict the defendant’s molestation of one victim, where he is seen touching her eight times during the course of one practice.
"Children and young women should be able to go to school or be able to go to a practice and not have to fear of being molested. Speaking generally we often see children don’t get the benefit of the doubt when they come forward to speak about traumatic events,” said Casey McNerthney, who is with the King County Prosecuting Attorney's Office.
In this case, the two girls confided in a trusted adult who then called police.
“Given the length of time and this pattern of behavior, we suspect there are other victims out there," said Black.
According to charging documents, Antich even told one victim that he was in love with her and wanted to marry her. The victims were afraid to report the defendant’s molestation out of fear of being removed from the cheerleading team.
Since Bellevue police put out this information, they have had more than five additional victims come forward, saying the coach mistreated them.
"We definitely expect more charges to come,” said Black.
Bellevue Police are now asking anyone who may know something to call their tip line at 425-452-7853.
“We want to understand the scope, the nature and the breadth of this alleged crime,” said Black.
KING 5 reached out to the Washington State Cheer Coaches Association for comment and is still waiting for a statement.