Former Hialeah Gardens basketball coach accused of sexually assaulting students

Javier Cuenca, 33, arrested Friday

By Amanda Batchelor - Senior Digital Editor, Carlos Suarez - Anchor/Reporter

HIALEAH, Fla. - A former basketball coach at Hialeah Gardens Senior High School is facing multiple charges after three students claim they were sexually assaulted by him.

Javier Cuenca, 33, was arrested Friday on lewd and lascivious conduct and molestation charges.

According to the arrest report, Cuenca asked one of his players to show him his penis in 2012 when the victim was 15 years old. The teen told police that Cuenca's excuse was that he wanted to check to see if the teen could get on anabolic steroids.

Detectives said the teen claimed he received steroids from Cuenca. He also said Cuenca tried to fondle his penis, but he slapped Cuenca's hand away and ran from the classroom they were in at the time.

Another former basketball player told detectives Cuenca also asked him to show him his penis in the school's weight room in February 2013 to check whether the student had a "virgin line."

The victim, who was 15 years old at the time, told detectives he showed Cuenca his penis, pulled his shorts up and left the room.

"How is he going to do that in the weight room?" said one student. "That's impossible for him to do that in the weight room. Those are lies."

Police said the third victim claimed his former coach fondled his penis and testicles numerous times between 2012 to 2014, and said he was doing so to determine whether he was eligible to receive anabolic steroids. The victim, who is now 17 years old, also said Cuenca administered the steroid, Anavar, to him without a prescription.

Several current students on the school's basketball team told Local 10 News they were told by their current coach not to speak with reporters. But many students still expressed their disbelief at the allegations.

"He's a great coach and a good person," said one student.

"It's crazy how this comes out of nowhere, but honestly, I don't believe everything," said student Mateo Agudelo.

Miami-Dade County Public Schools released a statement about the allegations Monday.

"The employee was terminated by the school district in 2013 when the original allegation was made," school district spokesman John Schuster said. "Miami-Dade Schools police immediately launched an investigation into the alleged misconduct; however, initially, there was insufficient evidence to further a criminal case.  Information recently supplied by county police helped close the investigation."

At least one concerned parent said she had heard rumors about Cuenca in the past.

"I believe, I'm not 100 percent sure, but I believe that he was picking his little team," said parent Carina Giglio. "He knew the kids that were going to accept what he was doing."

Police are asking parents to talk to their children and to come forward if they think they may have been a victim.

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