In a harrowing story of premeditated predation and exploitation, lifelong competitive cheerleading coach Erick Joseph Kristianson has been arrested on multiple felonies for sexually abusing six underage girls in Southern California and Florida.
44-year-old Kristianson, of Antioch, Tennessee, was taken into custody in Fargo, North Dakota, after a warrant was issued in the Orange County case. If convicted, the sheer number of charges against Kristianson – seven felony counts of lewd or lascivious acts with a minor under 14, five felony counts of a lewd act upon a child aged 14 or 15, two felony counts of sexual penetration by foreign object of a minor under 18, one felony count of sexual penetration by a foreign object of a minor under 16 and one felony count of oral copulation of a person under 16 years old – could result in a life sentence for the accused.
Kristianson spent well over a decade as a professional coach for competitive cheerleading, from 2002 to 2008 at Magic All-Stars, then from 2005 as an assistant coach at Trabuco Hills High School. During these periods, he is accused of molesting six girls ranging from 11 to 16 years old.
The first signs unraveled in 2022, when Kristianson was arrested on charges of engaging in lewd acts for a camera before three children between 11 and 13, and already touching the breasts of a 13-year-old, all of them part of his cheerleading club. The following August saw him arrested in Kansas and then extradited to Florida.
However the situation swelled to a critical proportion with the testimony of an Orange County girl, who reported being molested by Kristianson from the time she was 14 while he served as her coach. As Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer pointed out, “this was not a predator hiding in the shadows waiting to grab innocent girls. He was hiding in plain sight as he assaulted girl after girl, thinking he would never be caught because they trusted him as a coach.”
Kristianson is held without bail at the Theo Lacy Facility in Orange. However, law enforcement remains on high alert, suspecting there may yet be more victims and urging anyone with information to contact Orange County Sheriff Department Investigator Austin Jones at 714-647-4016.