Football players at a California high school claim they were sexually assaulted by their head football coach, and the case they made to school officials has now led to his dismissal.
As reported by the Orange County Register, La Puente (Calif.) High School officially fired the school’s varsity football and girls basketball coach, Erick Williams, after some of his players came forward alleging that he sexually assaulted them.
The school district released the following statement to the Register when reached for comment:
“La Puente High School Administration received information that a walk-on coach made inappropriate comments to female students. Upon learning of this incident, they immediately launched an internal investigation. As a result of this internal investigation, we terminated this coach’s employment with Hacienda La Puente Unified School District.”
For his part, Williams claims the report of his firing mischaracterizes his departure, and also denied making any suggestive comments to his players or touching player’s breast, both claims that cut to the heart of the case against him.
Williams’ phone statement to the Register runs counter to claims by 10 girls basketball players and their parents, all of which hold Williams responsible for causing the players emotional and psychological harm.
Meanwhile, the parents of the athletes affected almost universally expressed frustration with the school for not notifying them that the coach was under investigation.
“It baffles me that me and my wife had to learn of this incident from our 17-year-old daughter over dinner,” a parent of one of the girls told the Register. “I’m very upset, disgusted and enraged over this incident.
“We fill out these emergency cards for a reason like this. This is an emergency. Our kids were in a state of danger.”
The pressure put on by the student athletes and their parents could change the tenor of comments from La Puente principal Fernando Sanchez, whom allegedly told the players he couldn’t fire the coach “over three dumb comments.?”
Now that decision may have been made regardless of Sanchez’s preference, thanks to pressure brought by the student athletes and their parents.