Investigation continues into claim against Sobrato football
Morgan Hill – Police continue to investigate allegations that a Sobrato High School football coach had sex with a 17-year-old female student.
Jeff Patterson, who also teaches math at the school, remains on voluntary leave. Police say they have wrapped their interviews but are waiting for results from the county crime lab.
“There’s nothing new at this point that we can put out to the public,” Morgan Hill Police Cmdr. Joe Sampson said. “Right now, we’re waiting. We’re waiting for results from the crime lab to come back. We had impounded Mr. Patterson’s car and gone over the interior for possible evidence, then sent samples to the crime lab. Those do take some time.”
Sampson said he could not release information on the kind of samples sent to the county crime lab.
The 17-year-old female Sobrato student told her father, who called police on Nov. 8, that Patterson “urged” her to forge a note to get out of her sixth period class on Nov. 4, then picked her up in his car as she waited on Burnett Avenue. She said they visited the UPS store, then drove to a side street and parked, where they engaged in oral sex.
According to the entry in the police dispatch log, when the girl’s father called police, he told them he “believes the acts may be consensual, but the daughter did see a counselor today because she is very emotional.”
It is not clear if the student is in one of Patterson’s math classes.
While Patterson has not been teaching his classes, he also has not been able to attend football functions.
During the Sobrato football program’s end of season banquet Wednesday, both the JV and varsity teams were honored, but Patterson was not in attendance. He also was forced to miss the team’s last game Nov. 11 in Fortuna. No public mention was made of his absence during the banquet, except when the booster parents presented the other coaches with gifts and announced they also had a gift for Patterson; the teams and their families energetically applauded.
Sobrato Principal Rich Knapp said he still could not comment on the case or on how the situation is being handled at the school.
“Because it’s a personnel issue, I really can’t make a comment,” Knapp said Friday.
Superintendent Alan Nishino echoed Knapp, adding that there is no new information.
Larry Biegel, the attorney retained by Patterson, said the coach would not make a statement at this time.
“First of all, we are dealing with a young person here, and we’re not going to get into a name-calling situation,” he said. “This is a very uncomfortable situation for the coach to be in. He is a young guy with a blameless career. Right now, there is an investigation going on. We’ll wait (to comment) until that investigation is complete,”
Sampson said MHPD detectives hope to wrap up the case soon, possibly by early next week, so they can turn the case over to the District Attorney’s office.
Biegel, who said police had not informed him of the types of samples being tested, said he also is looking for a quick end to the investigation.
“It is of greatest concern to [Patterson] that he is not there for his kids,” Biegel said. “Not only his teams, but also his math students. He has cooperated in every way with police, done whatever they asked, provided them with whatever they needed, in terms of samples, et cetera.
“To make this into a circus, that is not productive for anybody, not only for him, but also not for the young person, nor for the school. We want to see the way this investigation leads, and we want to be optimistic. A comment from him now would not be very productive.”