Former La Mirada High athlete recalls...

Former La Mirada High athlete recalls molestation

There are 50 comments on the Whittier Daily News story from Sep 5, 2009, titled Former La Mirada High athlete recalls molestation. In it, Whittier Daily News reports that:

As a teen, Melissa Anderson Vincelet ran for La Mirada High School's track and cross country team.

Join the discussion below, or Read more at Whittier Daily News.

MT Whittier

San Diego, CA

#21 Sep 8, 2009
How many teachers has Whittier H.S. hired in the past years that are molesters? Mr. Hill, Mr. Gupton, who else is out there? Someone should invesigate the District's hiring process.
LMHS - Class of 98

Duarte, CA

#22 Sep 8, 2009
Melissa, I have alway thought about you and I hope that this closes a chapter in your life. He deserves this and more!!!!!! I'm angry at that fact that he got away with it for so long and as teenagers we do not talk out. I hope all is well now and that you are happily married and moved on. I'm in facebook if you ever want to reconnect.

Also, you courageous actions just opened so many other stories that I believe that you will not be the only one to speak out, hopefully.

Take care.
LMHS - Class of 98

Duarte, CA

#23 Sep 8, 2009
Yelena S.
La Serna Mom

Whittier, CA

#24 Sep 8, 2009
The Daily News said that Whittier Union spokesperson did not know of any concerns. How is that possible? I, a parent, knew of rumors and that he was let go, as I already stated, under suspicious circumstances. The year after he left La Serna many parents and students were in denial, but I heard of too many unrelated concerns. Thank goodness my children were never coached by him.
Melissa Anderson Vincelet

Antioch, CA

#25 Sep 9, 2009
James,

Thank you for talking about your cousin, sharing her story. It isn't the best news we like to express to people when things like this happen, but thank you for telling your cousin's story and sharing. Best of luck, Melissa.
James 1974 wrote:
Thanks Melissa for coming forward. I had a cousin who was a runner on The Arroyo High School Track Team 1987-1989. And her coach molested her.That stupid freak. Our family kept it hushed up.If her brothers found out,they probably would have killed him.I don't think she ever told the police.These stupid perverts just consider the girls their singles bar.I guess.The girls are far too young,especially for a grown man.But these perverts never learn.I am glad you came forward.Hopefully the school will stop hiring these pervs.But at my school.there were girls always hanging around the coaches.School-girl crushes. The perverted coaches perhaps get ideas from the attentions of a student.I don't blame you.You were just into your sport and this fool exploited you.Any coach who flirts or touches girls in-appropriately,should be dealt with. The massage line is the oldest trick in the book.My brother was almost molested by a fruit baseball coach who came up with that massage line.I'm glad you came forward.You have helped this society.
Creeped out

Berkeley, CA

#26 Sep 9, 2009
This scares me a great deal!! I am a former runner. I bought all my shoes from Andy's store. He gave me several pointers. He also offered to rub my legs when i had some major injuries. It creeps me out big time to think about how he did this to so many other girls and actually molested them! What a freakin pig! Thank god Melissa decided to come forward and say something
PR daughter

Los Angeles, CA

#27 Sep 9, 2009
Melissa, I think this is a great opportunity for you to speak to other athletes. I am a part of a child abuse prevention organization and I think your knowledge will help students. What people need to understand is "where ever there are children, a perpetrator is watching.Ē I am disgusted with the school district!! I canít believe they did not consider his suspicious behavior to be inappropriate. They could have interview students. Anyhow, they need to apologize to you for not protecting you. Also, there is an organization called Child Protective Service (CPS) the contact number is (800) 540-4000. People need to call this number if they suspect anyone is being abuse or a possible perpetrator. The bottom line is our community needs to take action and protect the children. They will take the call even if there is no concrete fact or evidence (a suspicion is all that is needed). If they refuse, demanded it! We are tax payers and have the right to be heard. Maybe, Whittier Daily News should consider writing an article on reporting abuse. Good luck and I hope you will be able to help others.
icky

Downey, CA

#28 Sep 9, 2009
I know his wife and boys and I feel sorry for them. They too are victims in this.
LM Runner 93-96

Bloomington, IL

#29 Sep 9, 2009
Finally, after so many years you did something about this Melissa. To bad that it did what it did and we wished that you would had said something back then. But thinking about it, it was a tramatic situation and you were very vunerable and Andy played off that. He was evil and played everyone against each other.

Thank you for finally standing up and hopefully he won't be able to do this again.
Laura

Montebello, CA

#30 Sep 9, 2009
loon wrote:
Why did she let the pervert go that far in the first place?
She was 15 years old idiot. There is this thing called fear and threats that will shut anyone up. You obviously dont know what its like to have someone over-power you in such a way. You should be thankful for that and enjoy your ignorance.
Sister-in-Law

Redondo Beach, CA

#31 Sep 9, 2009
We as a family are so proud of you Melissa for being so strong to face this head on. I hope this will help any silent victims to gain strength and come forward to tell their story not just to prosecute but even just for closure. I also hope that this will remind parents to say involved and always listen to that gut feeling. This has been a very emotional ride for the family but it has only made our bond that much stronger. We love you Mel!!
P.S. Laura from LA you read my mind with your comment =) Tank you!
"She was 15 years old idiot. There is this thing called fear and threats that will shut anyone up. You obviously dont know what its like to have someone over-power you in such a way. You should be thankful for that and enjoy your ignorance."
LMHS Grad

Downey, CA

#32 Sep 9, 2009
Melissa, you are brave to share your story. As a LMHS graduate, I am so disappointed to learn that our school was the site of such terrible acts. My sister also was on the track team at the same time. I couldn't believe it when I read the headline. To any other former athletes who suffered due to Mr. Gupton, I urge you to get counseling now, don't let any more time pass. God bless you all.
Andy Gibson

Los Osos, CA

#33 Sep 9, 2009
You did the right thing Mel. I can't say I'm shocked about this, the signs and suspicions were there even then, and I can guess at other victims, I hope they come forward. I sorry this took such a toll on your life and was probably a factor in leaving Poly as well. I'm thinking about you and praying for you. Josh, you're a good man. Keep it up.

And to Captain Idiot who thinks the fact that she should be legally liable for those after her for coping with this for 11 years, you are just that, an idiot.
layla

Brea, CA

#34 Sep 10, 2009
plain disgustingg.
i hope he never gets to another highschool again
Friend

Whittier, CA

#35 Sep 11, 2009
Melissa, I appreciate you for what you did more than you can ever know. I was one of Andy's runners, and although I did not fall victim to the horrible things he did to you...he did touch inapropriately, but at the time I figured he was my COACH, so it was okay. Now looking back, it was very wrong and he should not have been the one to "massage" my legs out like that. This whole thing disgusts me and it makes me sick to my stomach to know that Andy bold face lied to myself as well as my family. He told us of the "false accusation" that a previous La Mirada High runner made of him and that it was not true at all. I trusted him. My family trusted him. Our team trusted him. He is the biggest scumbag on the planet and I am so happy to know that FINALLY justice was served. I want to know one thing though, how the hell did other high schools keep selecting him as a coach KNOWING his past. If they say they had no idea, they're LIARS!!! Everybody knew!!! This makes me sick just thinking about it.
Thanks again Melissa, and I hope you find peace and you and your family can continue on with your lives now. You are a very brave person, and I admire you for going up against somebody that none of us ever dreamed would get knocked down. CONGRATULATIONS, YOU DID IT!:)
Melissa Anderson Vincelet

Union City, CA

#37 Sep 11, 2009
To "friend"...
Thank you for being as brave as me; and know, that you too are as respected for your courageous post. My intent aside form the truth was to print my name and show others that they too could speak up and be brave- it isn't easy. There were many pieces and wrong doings that went un-printed or formally charged for and that angers me because others suffered too. However, the road ahead is about healing because he got caught.
If he did something to you, and it was wrong, as well not apart of the investigation, you should contact the Special Victims Bureau on Colima in Whittier. Andy plead to a lesser charge because he could not fathom in his own head that his actions were wrong, horrible and not appropriate. He being a first time "caught" individual made it easier for him to take a bargin. His behavior is and was hard to trace for some people and easier to speak to from others.
I too, felt the same way you did when I was younger and it did not hit me for a long time that EVERYTHING he did was wrong. He wasn't my coach, my friend, my trusting mentor, my guidance to athletics in college or community leader- he was a manipulator using his own needs to prey and satisfy his own urges on young victims who he planned for. Don't ever let him or someone like him put the shift on the victim because he can't see straight in his own mind.
Think about what happened to you, it's affect on your life and the tremendous courage you have for coming forward. Take care and be well- it isn't easy on some days.
Melissa Vincelet
Laurie Hayes

United States

#38 Sep 11, 2009
I liked the way PR Daughter said:
"Melissa, I think this is a great opportunity for you to speak to other athletes. I am a part of a child abuse prevention organization and I think your knowledge will help students"

Melissa, you have a way with words and are quite eloquent explaining things. I believe you could speak to students at schools. Don't know how its done, but, I do believe that you can start a "movement". It is something that is needed
master runner

La Mirada, CA

#39 Sep 12, 2009
As a father and long time runner, I'm thankful she never took up running. I can remember see Andy in the store and him telling me about the parents complaining about him. I recall telling him right to his face,Andy I can see one time, but several? I had a good feeling something was up, but made me uncomfortable where the female runner (h.s.) who worked or "hung out" at his store. He always had a "strange" personality. I anticipate the Runners Zone to be sold or closed down. I would hate to see that since this is the only local running store. If any one is interested in partnering up to buy it let me know. I would hope this is a lesson to learn for all the parents and administrators who ever get any "lead" on inappropriate behavior to follow it up to the end.

ace
master runner

La Mirada, CA

#40 Sep 12, 2009
sorry for the mistakes in my grammar, in a hurry but I now you reading get the point.
Melissa Anderson Vincelet

Pittsburg, CA

#41 Sep 12, 2009
I wouldn't know where to start on all the great advice I have gotten about being a voice. I know there is RAINN and other organizations out there, but haven't the resources to even know where to get started. If someone has an organization that advocates for public speaking or victims rights, please let me know.

Thanks so much,
Melissa
Laurie Hayes wrote:
I liked the way PR Daughter said:
"Melissa, I think this is a great opportunity for you to speak to other athletes. I am a part of a child abuse prevention organization and I think your knowledge will help students"
Melissa, you have a way with words and are quite eloquent explaining things. I believe you could speak to students at schools. Don't know how its done, but, I do believe that you can start a "movement". It is something that is needed

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