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Victim’s Attorneys File Suit on Behalf of 13th Victim in Case of LAUSD Wrestling Coach Convicted of Child Sexual Abuse

In a disturbing revelation, attorneys filed a lawsuit for a 13th victim against LAUSD, highlighting further failures in the district's investigation process concerning former wrestling coach Terry Gillard, convicted of numerous sexual abuse charges.

Irvine, California - Lawyers representing multiple victims of child sexual abuse by former LAUSD wrestling coach Terry Gillard filed a lawsuit on behalf of Jane NA Doe, another alleged victim.

“The new complaint adds a thirteenth victim represented by our firm against Los Angeles Unified School District based on abuse by Gillard. She was fifteen years old at the time of her alleged abuse and is seventeen years old today. The Complaint reveals newly discovered information regarding the failures in the LAUSD's Student Safety Investigation Team (SSIT),” said the victim’s attorney Morgan Stewart.

“The SSIT team was lauded by LAUSD as a team of former law enforcement professionals retained to investigate allegations of sexual abuse against LAUSD staff members; however, it is a patent public relations mechanism and an utter failure in practice,” said Mr. Stewart.

Although touted as an investigatory arm of LAUSD to protect the safety of children, 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.

In this case, the flaws revealed that the LAUSD investigator believed that Gillard was lying about denying sexual misconduct in 2016 but that investigator was not permitted to relay that information to administrators who were deciding whether to permit Gillard to return to John H. Francis Polytechnic High School. The Administration allowed Gillard back on campus where he continued to sexually abuse minor students.

“The systemic failures in the SSIT investigative process call into question all SSIT investigations of alleged abusers within LAUSD. 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,” said Mr. Stewart.

In May 2019, a jury in the San Fernando Superior Court convicted Gillard on 37 felony and 10 misdemeanor counts, including lewd acts on children under the age of 16, oral copulation with a minor, procuring children to engage in lewd acts, and child molesting. Gillard was sentenced to 71 years in prison.

Child sexual abuse survivor advocates at Manly Stewart & Finaldi and The Senators (Ret.) Firm LLP have filed civil lawsuits on behalf of all but three of the victims in the criminal case as well as others. The lawsuit names Gillard, Los Angeles Unified School District, and the Boys and Girls Club of San Fernando Valley as defendants.

“LAUSD has a long and sad history of covering up child abuse by teachers and coaches. We now know that the mechanism created by LAUSD to investigate these crimes is a sham,” said victim’s attorney Ron Labriola, a partner in The Senators (Ret.) Firm.

Manly Stewart & Finaldi is the nation’s leading firm representing athletes in child sexual abuse cases against school districts, Universities, and Olympic Governing Bodies. They recently represented 180 alleged victims of former Olympic Team doctor Larry Nassar, resulting in a $500 million-dollar settlement against Michigan State University. In 2018, the firm settled cases against the Torrance Unified School District for $31 million on behalf of alleged victims of former wrestling coach and convicted child molester Thomas Snider, against Los Angeles Unified School district for $8 million in cases involving former football coach and convicted child molester Jamie Jimenez, and for $14 million in cases involving former Los Angeles Unified District employee Ronnie Lee Roman. The firm has also settled $30 million in claims against Redlands Unified School District.

The Senators (Ret.) Firm LLP provides high-quality legal representation to victims of childhood sexual abuse. Over the past four years, the Firm represented sexual abuse victims in cases that settled with LAUSD for over $220 Million. The Firm just recently achieved a $31 Million settlement with the Torrance Unified School District for victims who were sexually abused by their wrestling coach.

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Manly, Stewart & Finaldi is regarded as America's leading law firm for sexual abuse cases. As a firm that exclusively handles sexual abuse cases, our California law firm offers experienced representation to obtain justice for sexual abuse survivors, harassment, and discrimination.

Learn more about Manly, Stewart & Finaldi.