General Crime

* Jon Etingoff former Albany High School wrestling coach was convicted of three felony charges

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A former Albany High School wrestling coach and a longtime youth sports volunteer was convicted today of three felony sex charges for molesting teenage boys. Jon Etingoff, a 57-year-old El Cerrito man who was dressed in blue jeans and a gray hooded sweatshirt, was immediately taken into custody by two bailiffs after Alameda County Superior Court Julie Conger announced her verdict in his non-jury trial.He faces a term of 15 years to life in state prison when Conger sentences him May 24.Etingoff was convicted of two counts of lewd and lascivious behavior with a child under the age of 14 and one count of lewd and lascivious behavior with a 15-year-old child.Alameda County Deputy District Attorney Susan Torrence said authorities received statements from men accusing Etingoff of molestation from as far back as 1975 but her office was only allowed to charge him which accusations dating to 1988 because of statute of limitations rules.Torrence said some of Etingoff’s victims are now middle-aged and she believes they were “incredibly brave” to come forward to testify against him.She said, “I’m very glad that we got them justice and now maybe they can get on with their lives.” Etingoff was a volunteer assistant coach with the Albany High School wrestling team and also coached karate and a Pop Warner youth football league team, according to Torrence.She said she believes Etingoff has engaged in “predatory sexual behavior going back 30 years.”Torrence said that in addition to the three victims Etingoff was convicted of molesting, four other victims were allowed to testify about his pattern of behavior even though charges couldn’t be filed in their cases due to statute of limitations rules.In announcing her verdict, Conger said one victim testified that when he was a minor Etingoff got him drunk and then molested him.Conger said another victim testified that Etingoff masturbated while the victim showered at Etingoff’s apartment and then called the victim “a sissy girl.”Etingoff’s attorney, Judy Browne, declined to comment after he was convicted.Torrence said she thinks the reason it took a long time for Etingoff’s behavior to be reported is that in cases of people in positions of authority, such as coaches, “it’s difficult for victims to come forward and it’s difficult for them to be believed.”

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