Tag: cheerleading sexual abuse

Raul Albites Horowitz Law

Broward County Cheer Coach Raul Albites Arrested For Sexual Misconduct With 14-Year-Old Girl

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 adam@adamhorowitzlaw.com for a free consultation.

Vigiland D'Haiti Horowitz Law

Orlando Cheerleading Coach Vigiland D’Haiti Arrested for Allegedly Molesting Multiple Teens

On Sunday, March 27, 2022, Vigiland D’Haiti, an Orlando-area cheerleading coach and high school choreographer, was arrested at his Winter Garden home on multiple counts of lewd and lascivious molestation of victims ages 12 to 15. According to news reports, a warrant was issued on D’Haiti in Lake County for allegedly molesting several teens at World Cheer Center, Home of the Rush AllStars, located at 345 Hatteras Ave, Clermont, FL, for almost a decade. The body camera footage shows officers cuffing him, but D’Haiti begged officers to cuff him with his hands in front. 

In January 2022, the Clermont Police Department received several reports claiming that D’Haiti had sexually inappropriate contact with at least three children aged 14 and 15 between 2013-2021. According to the arrest affidavit, there has been an ongoing investigation on D’Haiti for over four months regarding him inappropriately touching his students. The report states D’Haiti would touch the girls’ hips and butts when he hugged them. Detectives found evidence that he also communicated to his students on Snapchat (Vig79) and Facebook. The report says that Vigiland D’Haiti would Snapchat the girls and say things like ‘you don’t love me?’ “I love you, I miss you,” and “you’re my favorite.” One of the alleged victims reported that he would make her sit on his lap to feel his erection. 

During the investigation, the Clermont Police Department reached out to DCF (Department of Children & Families) and learned there had been two potential victims who reported inappropriate behavior by D’Haiti in 2020. They also found another arrest on D’Haiti for alleged sexual misconduct, but that case was closed.

The Clermont Police released a statement by Sergeant Erin Razo stating, “The detectives have worked very diligently on this. We immediately contacted the USASF (United States All-Star Federation), and D’Haiti was immediately suspended, so he has not been able to work in his gym that he owns, here in the city.” Police also said the national cheer organization sent letters to parents of cheerleaders to let them know about the allegations.

One of the student’s parents commented, “I think it’s every parent’s worst nightmare really. It’s becoming commonplace, and it’s something very alarming.”

Vigiland D’Haiti, 39, is the co-owner of World Cheer Center, Home of the Rush AllStars. This Clermont gymnastics facility teaches children ages 3 to 18 years old. According to Rush AllStars website, Vigiland D’Haiti, or “Coach Vig” as the students called him, has been involved in cheerleading for 20 years. 

D’Haiti is also a Popwarner Nationals Judge, high school choreographer, and head all-star coach for the Rush Allstars. D’Haiti was hired in 2005 at Cypress Creek High School in Orange County as a computer tech teacher and cheer coach. He also was with Lake County Schools a couple of times, most recently at Dr. Phillips High Schoo and at East Ridge High School from 2016 to 2019. In January, he was placed on leave and is under investigation by the district’s Office of Professional Standards.

D’Haiti has been released on a $30,000 bond, pending investigation and trial.

It is expected that any institutions in which children learn and develop skills offer an environment in which they are safe from violence, bullying, harassment, and 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 adam@adamhorowitzlaw.com for a free consultation.