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Former Water Polo Coach Sentenced to Four Years

April 21, 2006|By Mary O'Keefe

He then added that Huber was performing even in court. "Once you entered the courthouse, you walked through the metal detectors, your shoulders slumped and you became the victim," the man said.

Many victims commented on how Huber still blamed others for his behavior, not admitting to his acts.

Crescenta Valley Sheriff's Station Detective Richard Lutz said Huber took photographs of his victims in very suggestive poses. "He essentially paid some minors to take pictures," Lutz said. "Some of them thought it was for a legitimate purpose."

Joanna Troy had made charges similar to the ones Huber pleaded no contest to this week this against Huber almost 20 years ago as the mother of a 7-year-old boy. Huber had been a Big Brother of Los Angeles. Her son had mentioned inappropriate behavior, but Troy, like many who knew Huber, could not believe Huber was capable of such crimes. She soon believed her son and started a long and lonely journey to convince others of his guilt.

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"I went to the church, with a doctor and other friends and told them of my suspicions," Troy said. "Mike told everyone that I was crazy and just out to get him," Troy said.

The church, First Baptist Church of La Crescenta, reported the charges to the Glendale Police Department. "We followed church policy," church spokesman Ron Moen said.

The police took a report and conducted an investigation but did not find enough evidence to warrant a charge, Moen said. The church was satisfied with the investigation. Troy said she reported an incident involving the discharge of a handgun in Huber's possession and her son's presence The investigation was closed due to lack of evidence, Troy said.

"What was he doing with a gun in his home? He was a youth leader," she said.

Troy said she continued to call attention to Huber's case to no avail. She contacted the Big Brothers of Los Angeles, who informed her that the records were not kept past 1999.

"They told me they had no record of my son even being involved with Big Brother," Troy said.

Big Brothers, who are now known as Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Los Angeles, researched the incident and said Huber was "in all probability" a Big Brother and was assigned to Troy's son, Big Brother President John Kobara said. Kobara was a Big Brother at the time. He said he does not remember Troy's son but has talked to some who do.

The reports and the incident were forgotten by all but Troy. Huber was made a youth leader at the First Baptist Church and assistant coach of the CVHS water polo team. CVHS officials say they were unaware of any prior incident or charges.

Troy said Huber's conviction brings her no peace. She said these victims could have been saved had someone believed her and her son. Her sister, Jeanne Neary, was allowed to confront Huber in court. She told of her sister and nephew's years of pain as Troy wept in the courtroom. She spoke of the victims who could have been saved.

"I am so sorry," Neary said to the victim's families.

Troy is trying to move past the pain and has started a non-profit organization called, Restoring Youthful Hearts Inc. She wants it to be a safe haven for children who have been abused and need help. Anyone who is interested in contributing or anyone who needs help can call (866) 309-0019.

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