[UPDATED with Laguna Hills Council Connection:] Todd Sousa, Irvine Swim Coach, Backstroking to Prison for Unlawful Sex with 15-Year-Old Girl

UPDATE, OCT. 29, 9:54 A.M.: Swim instructor Todd Robert Sousa, who was sentenced Friday to prison time and a sex offender tag for unlawful sex with a 15-year-old girl he taught, is the son-in-law of Laguna Hills City Councilman Joel Lautenschleger.

Sousa has children with Lautenschleger's daughter.

According to his city bio, Lautenschleger was the chief petitioner and co-chairman for the successful drive to incorporate the city in March 1991.

Concurrent with that incorporation vote, Lautenschleger was elected to the first Laguna Hills City Council and has served on the panel ever since. He was mayor in 1995, 2000, 2004 and 2009.

As a swim coach, which included a long association with Woodbridge High School in Irvine, Sousa has specialized in "stroke technique," an aptitude that should serve him well during long nights in the can.

Courtesy of OCDA
Todd Robert Sousa
ORIGINAL POST, OCT. 28, 6:15 P.M.: Swim instructor Todd Robert Sousa was sentenced today to 16 months in state prison for having an unlawful sexual relationship with a 15-year-old female student. The 37-year-old Irvine resident pleaded guilty to a court offer to 13 felony counts of lewd acts on a child, three felony counts of unlawful sexual intercourse, and two misdemeanor counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor.

In addition to his prison sentence, Sousa is also required to register as a sex offender, according to a statement from the Orange County District Attorney's office (OCDA). And that means he'll be prohibited from entering county parks and city parks in Irvine, La Habra, Los Alamitos and Westminster without permission for police agencies first, as the county and cities have passed OCDA-pushed bans on registered pervs in parks that attract children.

My former colleague Chasen Marshall reported in the spring about Sousa's arrest, charges and arraignment where he pleaded not guilty. See:

He was in the middle of a swim practice at JSerra High School in San Juan Capistrano when authorities walked onto the pool deck and placed him under arrest. The coach of the Irvine Aquazot Swim Club at the time, he was quickly fired. He'd previously coached at Woodbridge High School, also in Irvine.

Sousa met the 15-year-old girl when he worked as her swim instructor. He groomed her for unlawful sexual contact that included kissing and touching her breasts and vagina over her clothes. It later escalated to digital penetration, oral copulation, and sexual intercourse on several occasions, in his car, office and an equipment closet. Don't call him a romantic. After plying the girl and her friend with alcohol, Sousa even had sex with the victim in his office while her friend waited outside.

The girl's parents learned of the relationship, called the Orange County Sheriff's Department and that was the end of that. At his sentencing today, the girl's mother and step-father gave the court victim impact statements saying the coach's actions ruined their lives, and that their daughter was an avid swimmer and now she doesn't want to swim and has been depressed.

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Given that the proposed ordinance has to do ONLY with 290 registrants and the public parks, perhaps he meant to say "There has never been a sex crime in LH in a park or by a RSO." Which I have not heard disputed.

Bringing up the recent charges (accusations!) against the priest in LH only supports the argument that, if you really want to keep your children out of harms way, you will not let him / her have any contact with clergy, family members (!), school employees, recreation personnel, law enforcement, etc. - since over 95% of these crimes are committed by a NON-RSO, and over 90% of the time by known person.

As far as the son-in-law goes, also had nothing to do with a park or a registered person. One wonders if the Council Member might not wish for max punishment for his son-in-law, after what he has done to his daughter. Is he still part of the family, or has his daughter kicked his #ssto the curb? We will never know, and it is none of our business.

I trust the good council man will not be swayed by his own personal situation when it comes to this ordinance. It just makes no sense.


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Mr. Lautenschleger is deceiving us again.  No sex crimes against our children inLaguna Hills?


Also, his son-in-law’s swim company’s address is:


The question is, should Mr. Lautenschleger be voting on the banNovember 8th?  Thisseems like a conflict of interest for him.


At the Sept. 27 Laguna Hills City Council Meeting - Council Member Lautenschleger had this to say regarding banning sex offenders from parks in Laguna Hills - He said "Let's make one thing perfectly clear, there have been no sex crimes against children in the City since we incorporated." "I think we have to ask ourselves are we giving our people a false sense of danger?" and "What's the problem we are trying to solve here with the ordinance?" and "A full scale prohibition like the County did is just simply a solution looking for a problem."


Not surprised this happened at all. I used to swim where this guy was a coach and he was a perv. He had a hot and kid too. What a total fuck up.

mitch young
mitch young

So Marshall -- the Surfer Dude, white (I'm guessing) -- guy looses his job. Voluntarily? 


Anyone, including a council member who should now be more aware that this problem can hit so close to home, should also understand the need to protect children.  It was recently demonstrated in Lake Forest, in a park, with a woman whose son was being photographed against the will of his mother, that police could do nothing without an ordinance. It is definately our business to know when an elected official is not concerned with protecting our children.  Laguna Hills is so small that if you check the Sex Offender's web site you will see most of the sex offenders in Laguna Hills live near schools and/or parks.


In the state of California it is entirely possible to be arrested for, charged with and convicted of a sex crime for taking photographs. That goes for anyone - registered or not, 'victim'  need not be aware. No ordinance needed.

Unless you put a registered offender on house arrest their place of residency has no bearing on any kind of re-offense. Most can drive or walk. There is no evidence to show that the residency restrictions that have been in place for several years now have any positive effect on these crimes. The argument could be made that they are so restrictive that offenders go underground, and thus produce the opposite effect, resulting in less safe communities.

I think everyone understands the need to protect children. Best way to achieve that is to keep them away from the approx. 95% of people who are not on the registry and who will commit future sex crimes. Including at church, school, soccer, police, etc.  Oh, and of those, the most likely candidates by far are family and friends.

I can only hope, and until learning otherwise, that the council members views are based on rationality rather than personal circumstance.


Perhaps you should speak with OC District Attorney's Chief of Staff Susan Schroeder who at the Sept. 27, 2011 Laguna Hills City Council Meeting noted that even seemingly safe cities have a false sense of security if they believe that sex offenders will not watch your children and get in the process of grooming them. Kelly Hagins, from Lake Forest also spoke and stated she was in the park with her son in Lake Forest and this man came in and was taking pictures and acting very strangely this man in the park was a sex offender for child pornography but not on parole or probation and because the City of Lake Forest had no ban on sex offenders in the park, although the police came when she called and wanted to help, there was nothing they could do. Perhaps you don't believe that these women, one who had the actual experience, and the other who is very well acquainted with the law in Orange County are "rational thinkers"?

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