Crime - Sacto 911

Yolo coach held on $1 million bail on multiple sex assault charges against teen athletes

Police tape. Merced Sun-Star file photo.
Police tape. Merced Sun-Star file photo. File Photo

A youth batting coach is being held on $1 million bail in Yolo County Jail after pleading not guilty Friday to numerous allegations of sexual abuse against underage athletes he trained last summer.

Buck Maldonado Thomas, 42, was arraigned Friday on multiple counts of sexual assault on two girls in Yolo Superior Court in Woodland, the Yolo County District Attorney’s Office announced.

The hearing sets up a March 15 preliminary hearing on the charges. Yolo County prosecutors say Thomas was a freelance batting coach in summer 2018 when the crimes are alleged to have occurred.

The crimes were alleged to have taken place in West Sacramento, said prosecuting Yolo County Deputy District Attorney Ryan Couzens.

Yolo County District Attorney’s Office suspects others may have been victimized by Thomas’ batting practice business, officials said in a statement announcing Thomas’ arraignment.

Thomas did not have his own facility, instead he coached girls at his home or traveled to their homes, Couzens said.

Thomas was arrested in the Phoenix area in early January by Maricopa County Sheriff’s deputies, according to the Arizona Republic. Authorities told the Phoenix newspaper that one of the alleged victims had traveled from California to train in Arizona, where the alleged assault occurred.

Maricopa County authorities arrested Thomas and later extradited him to California to face the Yolo County charges, Couzens said.

Yolo County District Attorney’s officials are asking anyone with information or who believes they were assaulted to call investigator Jennifer Davis at (530) 666-8180.

Darrell Smith covers courts and California news for The Sacramento Bee. He joined The Bee in 2006 and previously worked at newspapers in Palm Springs, Colorado Springs, Colo., and Marysville. A Sacramento Valley native, Smith was born and raised at Beale Air Force Base, near Marysville.