LOS ANGELES (CNS) — Another lawsuit was filed against the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) by a plaintiff alleging she was sexually abused by a former wrestling coach at Poly High School in Sun Valley and the Boys & Girls Club of San Fernando Valley in Pacoima.
The woman, now 21, is identified only as Jane GJ Doe in the Los Angeles Superior Court lawsuit filed Dec. 12 against the LAUSD and Terry Gillard, who in October was sentenced to 71 years in state prison for dozens of sex crimes involving nine children, some who were preteens at the time their coach abused them.
Earlier in May, a jury in the City of San Fernando found Terry Terrell Gillard, 58, of Sylmar, guilty of 47 felony and misdemeanor counts involving seven boys and two girls that he met through the wrestling teams at Poly High School and the Boys and Girls Club between 1991 and 2017.
Three other victims have sued the former coach, LAUSD and the Boys and Girls Club, alleging that the institutions had prior knowledge of Gillard’s misconduct and should have removed him from having contact with children.
The latest suit alleges the plaintiff was sexually abused between the ages of 15 and 18 years old while a member of her high school wrestling team.
“The new complaint adds a twelfth victim represented by our firm against (the) Los Angeles Unified School District based on abuse by Gillard,” plaintiff’s attorney Morgan Stewart said. “The complaint reveals newly discovered information regarding the failures in the LAUSD’s Student Safety Investigation Team (SSIT).”
The SSIT was lauded by LAUSD as made up of former law enforcement professionals retained to investigate allegations of sexual abuse against LAUSD staff members, but it has been a failure in practice, said Stewart.
The lawsuit alleges that LAUSD administrators forbid the SSIT team from fully investigating claims of misconduct and further preclude the SSIT team from providing their opinions on credibility or conclusions as to alleged abusers that they investigate. This effectively rendered the entire purpose of any investigation as worthless, according to attorneys representing the victims.
Although the LAUSD investigator believed that Gillard was lying about denying sexual misconduct in 2016, the investigator was not permitted to relay that information to administrators who were deciding whether to permit Gillard to return to Poly High School, the suit alleges.
The administration allowed Gillard back on campus and he continued to sexually abuse minor students, the suit states.
“The systemic failures in the SSIT investigative process calls into question all SSIT investigations of alleged abusers within LAUSD,” Stewart said. “This means that there are alleged abusers, like Gillard, who should have never been allowed onto a school campus, yet LAUSD allowed them back without a full investigation.”