A previously employed basketball coach at a Menifee high school was arrested on Wednesday, Jan. 29 on suspicion of having a sexual relationship with a teen after an officer found the pair in a car together in Murrieta, authorities reported.
Lauren Matheney, 23, of Perris, was booked on suspicion of sex with a minor and child annoyance/molestation, Murrieta police said. Matheny was the girls junior varsity basketball coach at Paloma Valley High School.
On Tuesday, Jan. 21 at approximately 10 p.m., a patrol officer investigated a “suspicious vehicle” parked near the intersection of Keller and Menifee roads in Murrieta, according to a police news release. Inside, the officer identified Matheny and a 15-year-old minor.
Upon further investigation, it was revealed that Matheny and the minor were involved in an “inappropriate and criminal in nature” relationship, the release stated.
The gender of the minor and the minor’s affiliation status with the school or any sports program was left out in an attempt to keep the minor’s identity confidential, said Lt. Tony Conrad of the Murrieta Police Department.
The Perris Union High School district was notified of the investigation the following day.
According to Superintendent Jonathan Greenberg, Matheny was suspended as a coach and separated from the team as soon as the school was alerted.
“That afternoon, we contacted the girls basketball parents that she (Matheny) was suspended indefinitely,” Greenberg said in a phone interview this morning.
Matheny was officially terminated once notice of her arrest was made on Wednesday, Greenberg added. A message to all Paloma Valley parents was sent upon her termination.
A varsity basketball coach has temporarily taken over Matheny’s duties with the position planned to be filled for next year, stated Greenberg.
Matheny began her coaching career with Paloma Valley High on Aug. 16, 2013 after her “fingerprints were cleared,” according to Greenberg. She was a 2008 graduate of Paloma Valley High School.
Matheny played two seasons of women’s basketball at Palomar College in San Marcos after graduation and in 2011 she played in all 27 games for the Lady Cougars at Columbus State University (CSU), according to CSUs athletic website.
The site lists Matheny’s favorite foods as Italian and Mexican and her hobbies as “watching movies, playing video games and listening to music in her spare time.”
Video by JP Raineri and Chauncy Miller