Oscar Ponce: Abraham Lincoln coach charged with sexually assaulting teen for six months

Categories: Colorado Crimes

oscar ponce mug shot cropped.jpg
Big photo below.
Update by Melanie Asmar, 3:30 p.m. December 20: Oscar Ponce has been formally charged with two counts: sexual assault on a child by a person in a position of trust and sexual assault on a child by a person in a position of trust, pattern of abuse. The charges allege that the cross country coach at Abraham Lincoln High School "unlawfully subjected a teenage student at the school to sexual contact on numerous occasions between December 2010 and May 2011."

Ponce is scheduled to appear in court on December 28 to be formally advised of the charges. However, the police still cannot locate him. They've issued another arrest warrant for him in connection with a second case.

Read our previous coverage below.

Update, 6:23 a.m. December 16: Plenty of folks expressed shock when a charge of sex assault on a child by a person in a position of trust was leveled against Oscar Ponce, cross country coach at Abraham Lincoln High School, and a person widely considered a rising star in the Denver Public Schools system. There's more of the same in regard to the latest development in the case: Denver Police have aimed another count against Ponce, whose current whereabouts is unknown.
As before, DPS isn't releasing documentation or additional information about the case owing to the age of the alleged victim. However, the department admits that it has yet to locate Ponce, who was booked after the first accusation but bonded out.

Is he hiding out? On the run? Or is there a perfectly benign explanation for the situation? Tough to say at this point -- but the police have now issued his mug shot, which had previously been withheld pending additional interviews, to aid in the effort to track him down. Anyone who knows where he's at is encouraged to phone the DPD at 720-913-2000 or Crime Stoppers at 720-913-STOP (7867).

Ponce's booking photo is below, followed by our previous coverage.

oscar ponce mug shot.jpg
Oscar Ponce.

oscar ponce.jpg
Oscar Ponce.
Original item, 7 a.m. December 14: Unfortunately, reports that a coach has been perving on kids are all too common. Indeed, hockey instructor Zachary Meints was arrested on suspicion of just such a crime last week.

Still, no one would have thought such accusations would smack Abraham Lincoln High track coach and role model Oscar Ponce. Yet they have.

According to the Denver Police Department, Ponce has been arrested on one count of sex assault on a child by a person in a position of trust. Owing to the age of the alleged victim, no additional information is being released at this time -- and neither is a booking photo, because photo lineups are ongoing.

However, images of Ponce aren't exactly tough to find, thanks to the worshipful press coverage he's received over the years. Top of the list is "Coaching the Little Guys," a 2009 profile in Running Times magazine. As noted in the article, Ponce was born into poverty in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, but managed to become an impressive athlete at CU-Boulder. Post-graduation, he landed a job at his high school alma mater, North, but was lured into coaching at Lincoln by the opportunity to revive the moribund cross country program -- something he accomplished with unexpected rapidity.

Among the inspirational quotes from the article: "There is nothing better than motivating people to better themselves. And yes, there are many similarities between training and coaching. You have to have similar discipline. I tend to be very meticulous, and if something is not done how I like it done, it tends to bother me for days. Honestly, I think I get more nervous with coaching than I do for my own racing."

Denver Public Schools recognized Ponce as a rising star, putting him at the center of an In the Spotlight page of its website last year. That item reads:

Oscar Ponce is a DPS school counselor, and in the off-time serves as a cross country and track coach for Lincoln High School. Mr. Ponce is motivated and encouraging to his students. He is constantly pushing his student and athletes to maximize their potential.

Mr. Ponce is continuing to grow the Lincoln Cross Country and Track Program. He is a Denver North alum. Mr. Ponce also ran cross country for the University of Colorado at Boulder where he was a stellar athlete. He is a positive role model for his students and community. Mr. Ponce is constantly asking what is the best for our students and profession.

Thank you, Mr. Ponce for the passion and dedication you bring to your students and athletes.

In a 9News piece on view below, a student and parent express a mixture of shock and disbelief at the most recent turn of events, and that's appropriate. Check out the clip below.

Click here to follow and like the Michael Roberts/Westword Facebook page.

More from our Colorado Crimes archive: "Kyle Kvasnicka, Concordia volleyball coach, busted for Internet child luring in Colorado."


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14 comments
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Adanaodeimnis
Adanaodeimnis

he is a great person who probably did a mistake, as every single person in the world does. If you dont know him, you better shut up because you dont know what you are talking about. and if you talk about something you dont know, you're stupid.

Phillip
Phillip

This dude is an inspirational, runner who made a mistake and unfortunately his career and hopes and dreams are ruined forever...his one mistake was a big mistake that will make him lose the ultimate race.

denvernative
denvernative

You sound like Jerry Sanduskys wife dude.  Pull your head out your ass.  No teenage boy is going to make up crap like this.  You have to have a lot of courage to stand up and say this is wrong.  I am glad he did.  I just think its time all these down low guys self identified. 

cute
cute

He"s an INSPIRATIONAL  figure for all his students at the track and cross country team and he is a GOOD person, Not how all people think he is .The team have been growing since he started been a coach at Abraham Lincoln HS,the guys went as a team to STATE, and he made a girl going to STATE this past season.

Gryphon50a
Gryphon50a

I'm never shocked by this kind of story. Naturally pedophiles gravitate towards jobs where they're around kids- coaches, youth ministers, school janitors, etc. It's exactly what I would expect.

Godi3boii
Godi3boii

I don't understand why you guys would stand up for this child molester I am a 13 year old boy and had a 22 year old football coach that you would never seem to be a predator ....yet he was sexually conversating with my classmate and who cares about his reputation look at the pennstate coach I without a single doubt believe accusations are true

Gryphon50a
Gryphon50a

they never do seem to be a predator- that's why they are so dangerous. They lull their victims into a false sense of security.

Pelos22
Pelos22

oscar ponce is inocent until proven guilty the man is well  respective role model as a friend of the family i iam disgusted of such acuasations towards him.    

Phillip
Phillip

Karma...Oscar...Karma

Dmmand
Dmmand

If ur family than u must kno where hes at.

Highgeer
Highgeer

I trained with Oscar one summer in the late 90s while he was at CU and I was at Regis University.  I've run into him numerous times over the years since and I've also seen him at various cross country events.  His character is outstanding and the depictions of him as a role model are absolutely true.  The charge is hard to fathom.

citizeninneedofunbiasreporting
citizeninneedofunbiasreporting

With all due concern for the alleged victim, it is disconcerting how a person with an impeccable record can be brought down and convicted by public opinion and the media based solely on one accusation.  I hope and pray that this young person is ok, in all sincerity.  I understand needing to take immediate action.  However, the police report and media reporting are heavily tilted to one side, especially considering these are just allegations at this point.  Oscar has spent 34 years building his reputation in the community I hope that these allegations are either founded and true, or they (the media and public opinion) retract and make right these heavily biased reports. 

Virgo
Virgo

You make an excellent point but, I think people are just sick to death of child predators. Maybe if it didn't appear that Oscar is on the run from the allegations, people wouldn't be quite as quick to judge him. 

Michael Roberts
Michael Roberts

Excellent post, Citizen -- one we're going to make an upcoming Comment of the Day. Congrats, and thanks for writing.

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