LAUSD Sued Again Over Sexual Abuses by Convicted Former Wrestling Coach

Another alleged victim of sexual abuse by a former Los Angeles Unified wrestling coach convicted of molesting minors is suing the school district.

The suit was filed June 5 in Los Angeles Superior Court on behalf of a plaintiff identified only as John SD Doe, who is alleged to have been molested by Terry Gillard.

On May 7, a San Fernando Superior Court jury found Gillard, 58, of Sylmar, guilty of three felony counts each of committing a lewd act on a child, lewd acts 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.

Gillard, who is scheduled to be sentenced June 19, is facing up to 82 years in prison, according to the 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 his trial. The victims were between the ages of 11 and 17, according to Deputy District Attorney Cathy Lee.

The new civil suit alleges that Gillard pressured the plaintiff, who is now 19 years old, and other child wrestlers into having sexual activities with him and with each other while Gillard watched, all to satisfy his own deviant interests. Gillard began grooming the teen for sex when the plaintiff was 13 years old and started molesting Doe two years later, according to the complaint.

An LAUSD representative issued a statement Monday regarding the lawsuit.

"While we cannot comment on on-going litigation, student safety remains our top priority," the statement read. "We have made changes in our policies and practices to strengthen the protections for our students. While we have made much progress, we will continue to work diligently with our parents and the community to provide the safest possible environment for our students to learn and succeed."

Plaintiff's attorney Morgan Stewart said Doe is the ninth alleged child victim of Gillard that his firm represents.

"The sad fact is that LAUSD administrators were aware of multiple reports of alleged sexual misconduct by Gillard and other red flags well in advance of his arrest, including allegations that he sexually harassed a female LAUSD employee for which he was suspended," Stewart said.

Despite that knowledge, the LAUSD allowed Gillard to be alone with young children on and off campus, Stewart alleged.

"LAUSD must be brought to justice for their failure to protect the children under their supervision and care," the attorney said.

Evidence presented during the criminal trial showed that Gillard sexually abused children as far back as 1991, when he directed an 11-year old to have sex with an adult woman in the backseat of Gillard's Cadillac while he watched from the front seat, according to the plaintiff's attorneys.

Other criminal trial evidence showed that Gillard directed child wrestlers between 2014 and 2017 to perform sex acts while he watched, including in his vehicles and in a van owned and maintained by the Boys and Girls Club, according to the plaintiff's lawyers.

Copyright CNS - City News Service
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