A high school football official who was dismissed Wednesday by the TSSAA pleaded no contest in 2007 to attempted statutory rape and aggravated criminal trespassing, was sentenced to probation and was ordered to “not take any job with any school system while on probation” in Rutherford County.
On Thursday, the Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association announced it would consider background checks on officials at its November meeting.
The official, Joseph Kyle Gill, was involved in a controversial incident in Friday’s Glencliff-Gallatin game in which a Glencliff player slammed into Gill, knocking him to the ground. Social media has been debating whether the hit was intentional.
Gill, speaking to The Tennessean on Tuesday, voiced his displeasure over the hit, calling it “malicious.” He was placed on suspension by the TSSAA the next day while the association investigates whether he provided improper background information before being hired as an official.
In 2007, Gill, now 36, pleaded no contest to charges of attempted statutory rape and aggravated criminal trespass, according to Rutherford County court records obtained by The Tennessean. Those charges stem from an incident on April 7, 2006.
According to the records, Gill went into a woman’s home and briefly talked with her children, who were 5 and 7. Gill and the woman were acquaintances who had met at a tattoo parlor where the woman worked.
While Gill was in the house, the records said, he kissed the woman and fondled her private areas as she struggled to get away from him.
Records show that Gill was sentenced to two consecutive 11-month, 29-day terms of probation.
Gill initially had been charged with sexual battery and attempted rape. The records do not specify why those charges were changed.
The player who collided with Gill, Malcolm Easley, did not receive a penalty from the TSSAA, but his father and coach, Brandon Easley, told The Tennessean on Tuesday that he planned to suspend his son for a game and mete out other punishment. On Wednesday, the Glencliff principal, Clint Wilson, overturned that decision.
Meanwhile, the TSSAA suspended Gill for discrepancies in his application.
On Thursday, TSSAA announced it would consider a proposal to begin background checks for prospective officials. That wouldn’t come until a scheduled November meeting.
TSSAA Executive Director Bernard Childress said the difference in waiting until the November meeting, as opposed to acting now, holds little significance.
“Do I think it can wait until November? Yes, it can wait until the November board agenda because most of the officials that are registered with us to work this school year, that registration process actually started in April,” Childress said. “So, they register well before every school year ever starts.
“Very few officials are going to be registering from this point forward in this school year so that’s why it would be on the next board agenda.”
When asked if the association would go back and check current officials (should it vote to start doing background checks), Childress said, “That is a decision the board members would make. When they pass something it becomes policy going forward.”
Childress was also asked if Gill would have been hired as an official had he disclosed everything or if the criminal record had been found in a background check.
“That is a decision the board members would make,” Childress said.
Efforts to reach Gill on Thursday were unsuccessful.
Gill is the son of longtime high school referee Joe Gill and the nephew of former Smyrna girls basketball state championship coach Harry Gill Jr., who is in the TSSAA Hall of Fame.
Reporters Adam Tamburin and Andy Humbles contributed to this report, along with The Daily News Journal in Murfreesboro.