LOS ANGELES — Attorneys for the Boys and Girls Club of San Fernando can conduct deposition inquiries into the sexual backgrounds of multiple male and female plaintiffs who sued the club and Los Angeles Unified, alleging they were sexually abused due to the actions of a former wrestling coach, a judge ruled.

The plaintiffs were minors at the time and they met former Coach Terry Terrell Gillard 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 criminal case trial. The victims were between the ages of 11 and 17.

In a written decision issued Wednesday, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Richard J. Burdge Jr. noted that the plaintiffs make numerous allegations that they were coerced by Gillard into sexual acts with each other, with other minors and others on their wrestling team.

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Some plaintiffs were allegedly inducted into a so-called “circle” in which Gillard required that they have inappropriate sexual behavior with other athletes in the Poly High School wrestling program, making the club’s motion to question the plaintiffs “relevant and reasonably calculated to lead to the discovery of admissible evidence,” according to the judge.

The judge said the deposition questioning can probe whether the plaintiffs’ sexual activities with other individuals occurred at or independent of Gillard’s direction.

In their court papers, attorneys for the club argued their motion was justified and reasonable.

“BGC is not seeking to prove that plaintiffs consented to Gillard’s sexual harassment, assault or battery or that they had an absence of injury from Gillard’s actions,” the club attorneys stated in their court papers. “Rather, (the club) is seeking discovery in order to assess the level or amount of injury that plaintiffs claim was caused by (the club’s) actions.”

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Lawyers for the plaintiffs opposed the club’s motion, arguing in their court papers that any information obtained would be irrelevant and not likely to turn up new and admissible facts.

Gillard was sentenced in October 2019 in San Fernando Superior Court to 71 years behind bars after being convicted May 7 of that year 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.

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 his Cadillac while he watched from the front seat.

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’ …read more

Source:: Los Angeles Daily News


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