More may be victims of swim coach's abuse, police say
Published: Tuesday, April 29, 2014 at 4:50 p.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, April 29, 2014 at 4:50 p.m.
Police now believe at least seven children may be alleged victims of a Gainesville teacher and swim coach who was arrested last week on charges of molestation and sexual abuse.
Gainesville police spokesman officer Ben Tobias said Tuesday afternoon that more children have been interviewed and it appears seven or possibly eight claim to have been victims of Joseph Diaz, 31, of 3003 NW 30th Terrace.
“That's our best guess at this point,” Tobias said. “We just have to gather some evidence and do some more interviews but there will be additional charges coming.”
Diaz first was arrested Thursday on a warrant on charges of cruelty toward a child by directing the sexual performance by a child and possession of child pornography involving one male teenager.
He was arrested again Friday afternoon after a younger teenage boy came forward with additional allegations, this time involving sexual battery several times a month over a three-year period.
Tobias would not release any details about the latest purported victims, such as their ages or whether they met Diaz through swimming or through school.
Diaz is a behavioral resource teacher at High Springs Community School,, although he has been placed on administrative leave since the allegations arose. He also was a swim coach at Makos Aquatics Club of Gainesville. He worked at Wiles Elementary School as a second-grade teacher from 2009 to 2013 and at Littlewood Elementary during the 2008-09 school year.
Letters were sent home with some Alachua County elementary school students Monday asking parents to contact police if they believe their children had been victimized by Diaz.
Diaz has been placed on administrative leave pending the investigation.
Parents who suspect their child might have been victimized by Diaz should contact police detectives at 393-7670.
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