NOBLESVILLE, Ind.-- A diving coach in Hamilton County is facing more than two dozen charges after a girl told police the coach touched her inappropriately.
Johel E. Ramirez Suarez, 34, of Noblesville faces five felony counts of sexual misconduct with a minor, five felony counts of child seduction and 17 counts of misdemeanor battery.
According to the prosecutor's office, Ramirez Suarez was a coach at Arcadia's RipFest Diving when the juvenile victim says she was touched inappropriately on multiple occasions while training with him. He has since been fired.
Two other women reported similar behavior at the facility to authorities, and he was arrested after being interviewed at his home by police.
The allegations span two years, with the first charge from Sept. 2015. The most recent charge was from April, according to court records.
Court documents show he's accused of rubbing the genital area of the victims during stretching exercises. One victim called another and explained what happened, and the other victim said the same thing happened to her and they informed their parents.
One of the victims, who was both 15 and 16 when the incidents occurred, told police her vaginal area was touched "more times than she could count."
A third victim said he would ask things like "Do you like that?" during the incidents.
When police interviewed him, he allegedly admitted to touching the third victim in the vaginal area on three separate occasions.
He told police he did it because "he wanted to see what kind of reaction he would get," according to court documents.
Hamilton County Deputy Prosecutor Andre Mishka said more women are being encouraged to report abuse.
"Now is a strong and welcoming time for people who have been victimized. We are now, thankfully, in a climate where people can come forward and get the help they need and that our system is ready to try and hold people accountable," Mishka said.
RipFest Diving spokesman Roger Harvey issued this statement:
“When we were made aware of allegations against one of our coaches, we immediately removed him from our program and instructed him not to return to our facility pending the outcome of the investigation. In light of recent developments, we have terminated him immediately. We have cooperated fully with law enforcement and we will continue to do so. RipFest Diving is committed to providing the highest quality training for our diving students in an extremely professional and safe environment.”
Ramirez Suarez was also an assistant diving coach at North Central High School, and has been terminated. Washington Township schools issued this statement:
"Washington Township Schools received information from Hamilton County Law Enforcement that our assistant diving coach, Johel Ramirez, has allegations levied against him of improper conduct through a swim club he is associated with in Arcadia, IN. Immediately upon receiving this information, Washington Township placed him on administrative leave from his assistant diving coaching position at North Central High School. Upon learning of his recent arrest and charges against him, the district has terminated his employment with Washington Township. We do not have any reports or information that any students in Washington Township are involved in this alleged misconduct."
USA Diving issued this statement due to RipFest being one of their diving clubs:
“USA Diving is aware of the circumstances surrounding Mr. Ramirez Suarez and has suspended his USA Diving membership. We place tremendous importance on protecting and preserving the safety of our athletes and have followed Safe Sport protocol as outlined by the U.S. Center for Safe Sport.”