LOS ANGELES – Lawyers for the San Fernando Boys and Girls Club can conduct filing inquiries into the sexual backgrounds of several male and female plaintiffs who sued the club and Los Angeles Unified for being sexually abused as a result of the acts of a former wrestling coach ruled a judge .
The plaintiffs were minors at the time and met former trainer Terry Terrell Gillard between 1991 and 2017 through the wrestling teams at John H. Francis Polytechnic High School and the San Fernando Boys and Girls Club. This is evident from evidence presented during his criminal trial. The victims were between 11 and 17 years old.
In a written decision issued on Wednesday, Los Angeles Supreme Court Justice Richard J. Burdge Jr. found that plaintiffs made numerous allegations made by Gillard of sexual activity with one another, with other minors, and other members of their wrestling team were forced.
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Some plaintiffs were allegedly placed in a so-called “circle” in which Gillard requested that they have inappropriate sexual conduct with other athletes in the Poly High School wrestling program, which made the club’s request to interview plaintiffs “relevant and reasonable calculated to lead the discovery of admissible evidence, “said the judge.
The judge said the filing interrogation could investigate whether the plaintiffs’ sexual activities with anyone else were conducted on Gillard’s orders or independently.
In their court records, lawyers for the club argued that their request was justified and reasonable.
“BGC does not want to prove that the plaintiffs consented to Gillard’s sexual harassment, assault, or battery, or that they were not injured by Gillard’s actions,” the club’s attorneys said in their court records. “Rather, (the club) seeks discovery in order to assess the extent or level of injury caused by plaintiffs (the) actions of the club.”
The plaintiffs’ attorneys denied the club’s request, arguing in their court files that the information received was irrelevant and unlikely to reveal new and admissible facts.
Gillard was sentenced to 71 years in prison in the San Fernando Supreme Court in October 2019 after being convicted of three crimes on May 7 this year, each of which was an indecent act on a child and indecent acts on a child of 14 or 15 years of age and one oral copulation by a person under the age of 18, along with 28 crimes involving a child for lewd offense and 10 child molesting crimes.
Evidence presented during the trial showed that Gillard had sexually abused children back in 1991 when he instructed an 11-year-old to have sex with an adult woman in the back seat of his Cadillac while watching from the front seat.
Other evidence from criminal proceedings showed that between 2014 and 2017, Gillard directed child wrestlers to engage in sexual activity while watching, including in his vehicles and in a van owned and operated by the Boys and Girls Club, the lawyers said of the plaintiff.