ARIZONA NEWS

Phoenix Suns superfan Mr. ORNG, who coaches at a Valley high school, accused of child sex crimes

Apr 10, 2024, 9:40 AM | Updated: 11:27 am

A split image of Patrick Battillo in his Mr. ORNG persona on the left and his mugshot on the right....

Patrick Battillo, a Valley high school basketball coach who is also known as Phoenix Suns superfan Mr. ORNG, was arrested Wednesday, April 10, 2024, for alleged child sex crimes. (Getty Images and Maricopa County Sheriff's Office Photos)

(Getty Images and Maricopa County Sheriff's Office Photos)

PHOENIX – A Valley high school coach who is well known as Phoenix Suns superfan Mr. ORNG was arrested Wednesday for alleged child sex crimes, authorities announced.

Patrick Battillo, 37, was booked into jail on counts of luring a minor for sexual exploitation and child sex trafficking, the Peoria Police Department said.

Battillo is the head coach for the Peoria High School boys basketball team and volunteers at the West Valley campus.

School administrators notified police Tuesday after learning that Battillo allegedly offered to pay juvenile students for sexually explicit images and videos.

“As soon as we became aware of the allegations, we contacted the Peoria Police Department, the Arizona Department of Education and have filed a report with the Department of Child Safety,” Danielle Airey, a spokesperson for the Peoria Unified School District, said in a statement.

After detectives investigated the allegations, Battillo was taken into custody without incident in Goodyear, police said.

Teacher accused of tipping Mr. ORNG off about investigation

Another school employee was also arrested in connection with the incident. Holly Holgate, 46, allegedly tipped Battillo off about the investigation, allowing him to leave campus before he could be questioned.

Holgate is a teacher, and Battillo volunteers in her classroom. She was taken into custody for hindering prosecution and failing to report child abuse or neglect.

Anybody with information about the case was asked to call the Peoria Police Department at 623-773-704 or send in tips online or via email.

Why is Patrick Battillo known as Mr. ORNG?

Battillo has been a high-profile fixture at Suns games for years. His Mr. ORNG persona’s hair-to-toe orange outfits, including full face paint or makeup, was hard to miss in person or on TV.

He even appeared in a commercial promoting the Christmas Day NBA games in 2021.

Battillo completed fingerprint and background check clearance before he was hired to coach at Peoria High School in 2019, district officials said.

“Until now, no reports of misconduct have been brought to our attention from parents, students or community members,” Airey said.

Holgate has been at the school since 2000 and had an up-to-date fingerprint clearance card, the district said.

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Phoenix Suns superfan Mr. ORNG, who coaches at a Valley high school, accused of child sex crimes