Noblesville, Indiana diving coach Johel Ramirez Suarez, 34, has been ruled “permanently ineligible for membership with USA Diving.” Ramirez was arrested in November on more than 30 charges after being accused of inappropriately touching 3 women, including a 15-year old. His charges include sexual misconduct with a minor, child seduction, and misdemeanor battery.
The charges stem from Ramirez’s work at Ripfest Diving Camp, where according to a local Fox affiliate, the girls alleged that Ramirez touched their genital area during stretches and massages.
While Ramirez’s family says that they don’t believe the accusations, investigators say he confessed to touching the genital area of one of the victims. According to police, he said that “each time he wanted to see what kind of a reaction he would get.”
A statement from RipFest Diving read that: “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 was also an assistant diving coach at North Central High School in Indianapolis, a job from which he was also terminated.
USA Diving now lists 6 individuals on its public banned for life list, with Ramirez being the first added in 2017. By comparison, USA Swimming has 146 banned individuals on its list at present.