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California high school soccer coach accused of trafficking teenage girls

SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- A soccer coach at a high school in Northern California has been arrested on suspicion of human trafficking, authorities said Friday.

Sacramento sheriff’s investigators said they found 34-year-old Elan Seagraves in a car with another 17-year-old and determined both girls were victims of human trafficking, KTXL-TV in Sacramento reported.

Investigators say deputies got a call early Christmas morning from a teen girl who said she was the victim of sexual assault and human trafficking.

She told deputies she was hiding in the backyard of a home in south Sacramento, and the man forcing her into performing sex acts was waiting for her nearby.

"It’s absolutely 100 percent alarming," said Shaun Hampton with the Sacramento County Sheriff's Department.

On Friday morning, Seagraves was still listed as the men's junior varsity and varsity soccer coach for John F. Kennedy High School but was removed in the afternoon.

Deputies said Seagraves is also a coach and referee in some local youth soccer leagues, as well as an Uber and Lyft driver.

The sheriff’s department said there was no indication his allegations are connected to his role as a coach or driver, but they are concerned about the possibility of more victims.

"We want to encourage, regardless of the circumstances, regardless of any other things they may be involved in, it’s important to come forward," Hampton said.

The Sacramento City Unified School District responded to the arrest in a statement sent to KTXL Friday.

"We are extremely disappointed in Mr. Seagraves' unacceptable behavior. While he passed a background check and had no prior offenses when we hired him to coach soccer in our district, we expect more appropriate behavior from someone we trusted to work with our kids. Mr. Seagraves will no longer be allowed to work with our kids in any capacity."

A 17-year-old girl was seen running down a south Sacramento street in surveillance footage captured before Seagraves' arrest.

She begins knocking on doors for help at 3 a.m. on Christmas.

“It is actually tough for someone to go to the door and answer for someone like that because they don’t know if it’s a ruse,” Hampton said.

The teenager knocked on Vihn Ta's door.

“She wouldn’t tell me anything that happened," Ta told KTXL. "She just said she needed help, that somebody was chasing her.”

In the video, she is seen darting across Ta's front lawn, activating his motion sensor light and eventually finding her way to the front door.

"I didn't see no tears in her eye but she was scared," Ta said.

Ta said she came in, sat on his floor and talked with a 911 operator for about 15 minutes until a sheriff’s deputy arrived.

He let her inside to wait for deputies and when they arrived, he overheard her recount a disturbing tale.

"She was human trafficked by her pimp, her pimp was chasing her," Ta said. “She said the guy who trafficked her was having a gun too."

The sheriff’s department said Seagraves was waiting for the girl in a car.

Ta said he overheard the girl telling deputies that another girl her age convinced her to go with Seagraves that night.

“There are many tactics that they use,” Hampton said.

Seagraves was booked into Sacramento County Jail on human trafficking charges. He is being held on $2 million bail.

He will be in court Jan. 4 for bail review and then again on Jan. 9 for a settlement conference.

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