Former Wrestling Coach Convicted of 47 Sex-Related Counts

A man who coached wrestling at a Sun Valley high school was convicted on Tuesday of 47 sex-related counts, including lewd act on a child, involving seven boys and two girls.

Jurors found Terry Terrell Gillard of Sylmar, 58, guilty of three felony counts each of lewd act on a child, lewd act on a child 14 or 15 and oral copulation of a person under 18, along with 28 felony counts of procuring a child to engage in a lewd act and 10 misdemeanor counts of child molestation, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office.

The crimes involved minors whom Gillard met through the wrestling teams at John H. Francis Polytechnic High School and the Boys and Girls Club of San Fernando between 1991 and 2017, according to evidence presented during Gillard's trial.

The victims were between the ages of 11 and 17, according to Deputy District Attorney Cathy Lee.

"Our clients are truly gratified by and thankful for the jury's verdict in the criminal case and are hopeful that the court will impose a prison sentence that reflects the serious nature of these crimes," said attorney John Manly, who is representing all but three of the victims in a civil lawsuit against Gillard, the Los Angeles Unified School District and the Boys and Girls Club of San Fernando Valley.

Gillard is due back in a San Fernando courtroom next month for a motions hearing. A sentencing date has not yet been set.

In response to Gillard's conviction, the LAUSD issued a statement saying it "places the highest priority on student safety, and all allegations of child abuse are taken seriously."

"Former wrestling coach Terry Gillard was immediately reassigned from our school when the initial allegations were made, and he was subsequently dismissed by the Board of Education," according to the district. "Los Angeles Unified has implemented numerous policies and procedures to protect students and comply with the law with respect to the prevention, investigation and reporting of child abuse. We will remain vigilant in protecting our students from those who would do them harm."

Copyright CNS - City News Service
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