Police continue to investigation an allegation of improper
conduct with a female student against Sobrato High Football Head
Coach Jeff Patterson, Morgan Hill Police Cmdr. Joe Sampson said
Morgan Hill – Police continue to investigation an allegation of improper conduct with a female student against Sobrato High Football Head Coach Jeff Patterson, Morgan Hill Police Cmdr. Joe Sampson said Friday.
“We may have something early next week,” he said. “We are finishing up interviews. At this point, what we are trying to do is go straight down the middle, take facts as they are coming to us. We look at the circumstances, the time, date and place, and at the same time, look at the possibility of trying to verify that all these people talking to us are telling the truth. That’s the route that we take, straight down the middle until the facts line up that either prove or disprove the allegation.”
No charges have been filed and Patterson has not been arrested, but according to the Morgan Hill Police Department’s daily activity log, the girl’s father told police Tuesday his daughter forged a note to miss her sixth period math class on Friday, Nov. 4 at the urging of Patterson. The father said his 17-year-old daughter told him that she then met Patterson at a trailer park on Burnett Avenue, traveled to the Morgan Hill UPS Store, then performed oral sex on him in his car while parked along the road. The report said the contact “may be consensual, but the daughter did see a counselor today because she is very emotional.”
Sampson said Patterson’s car, which was initially impounded as a part of the investigation, has been released.
“We look for evidence in a variety of places,” he said. “There’s nothing I can tell you about it, not at this point. Nothing has been confirmed.”
Larry Biegel, a criminal defense attorney contacted by Patterson earlier this week, could not be reached for comment. Phone calls to Patterson’s Hollister home were not returned.
Patterson joined Sobrato as the first coach in the school’s history after it opened in May of 2004. Before that he served as the head football coach and athletic director at Gonzales High School. He grew up in Gilroy and played quarterback for the Mustangs before graduating in 1992. He also attended and played football at Gavilan College. He graduated from San Jose State in 1998. Patterson is believed to be 31 years old, according to the dispatch report.
In 2001, Patterson assisted in coaching the Gilroy football team under head coach Darren Yafai. He served as the Mustang’s freshman football coach in 2002.
Meanwhile, by dedicating their last game of the season to their head coach, players of the Sobrato varsity football team showed their support of Patterson, who wasn’t at the game in Fortuna because he is on voluntary leave.
Their support echoes what many students – who were unaware of the charges – say they feel. Students and parents contacted asked not to be identified.
A female sophomore said she had not heard anything about the football coach, but she said she did not believe the accusation could be true.
“There’s no way,” she said.
Sobrato parents contacted by phone also said they had not heard anything about the incident.
Apparently, if the word had not spread on the Sobrato campus, at least some Live Oak students had heard the news. One parent, who also declined to be identified, said students on the Live Oak campus were talking about the allegation.
A story that ran in Thursday’s Gilroy Dispatch may have been the source.
Though the attitude of those Sobrato students and parents contacted were supportive of Patterson and skeptical of the allegation, the incident still may have an impact on the school climate.
“Even if the story is proven false, which we hope it is, it’s an awful thing for a student to have said about a teacher,” said one parent. “Why would you do something like that? And how is this going to affect everyone? Something like this just doesn’t go away.”
Another parent disagreed.
“I think the staff will be ultra-aware of potential situations like these, but I think even if this is true, the school has too much positive going for it,” she said. “It’s not going to ruin the school. The kids and the teachers started the school from scratch and they won’t let it go down. There is a closeness, a really good atmosphere on the campus.”
The District Office and district schools were closed Friday in observance of Veteran’s Day, but Superintendent Alan Nishino said Wednesday that the district is committed to providing a safe school environment for its students, while also protecting the rights and privacy of its employees.