Four members of the Gilroy High School football team are accused of sexual battery following an altercation with a fellow student on Sept. 26, according to Gilroy police.
“The altercation involved four students that assaulted a fellow student after school,” reads an Oct. 1 statement from the Gilroy Police Department. “The incident was investigated by the assigned School Resource Officer who worked closely with school officials.”
The statement goes on to note that the four students accused in the assault, who have been suspended from school, were issued juvenile citations for sexual battery. “There is no evidence at this time that this was a hate-motivated crime,” the police statement continued.
Police are not releasing the names of any of the students involved because they are juveniles.
The police reported the result of their investigation after rumors swirled around social media and on Gilroy High School’s Tenth Street campus Monday and Tuesday.
About 12:30pm Sept. 30, the Gilroy Unified School District issued a press release notifying the public that the district “is investigating an alleged incident involving the Gilroy High School football team.” District staff reported the incident to the police department last week.
“After school administration and district office staff were notified about the incident, appropriate and immediate actions were taken, including contacting the Gilroy Police Department,” the Gilroy Unified School District press release continued.
The district’s statement said the football team’s season “has not been canceled.” The statement added, “The Gilroy Unified School District is committed to ensuring a safe and welcoming environment for all students at all of the district’s campuses.”
Gilroy police confirmed to news media later Monday that they were investigating an assault involving members of the Gilroy High football team, which had been reported by school officials. Police offered few details about the allegations and the investigation before reporting Oct. 1 that four students were cited on suspicion of sexual battery.
Earlier reports indicated that five Gilroy High football players sat out the team’s Sept. 27 game against Alvarez.
The Gilroy Unified School District’s investigative process is governed by California Education Code 48900.
“When an incident is reported, we immediately begin a thorough investigation as mandated by Ed Code,” said Melanie Corona, district public information officer, in response to questions from the Gilroy Dispatch. “It is important to remember that the involved parties in this incident are minor children and their right to privacy and confidentiality is highly protected by state and federal law.”
“The Gilroy Unified School District cannot discuss the specific details of this incident in any capacity without violating these minor students’ rights to privacy,” Corona wrote. “The Gilroy Unified School District will continue to keep everyone informed while we honor our legal obligations to protect the privacy rights of our students and families, and work to ensure the safety of all of our students.
“It is the hope of the Gilroy Unified School District that this incident will not affect the Gilroy High School football season. We will continue to monitor the situation as the Gilroy Police Department continues its investigation.”
In response to a Gilroy Dispatch question, Corona said last week’s decisions to refer the student’s complaint to the Gilroy Police Department and to suspend the students were made jointly by school district and Gilroy High School administrative staffs.
The district said it will provide any updated information that maintains the privacy of the minor students involved in this incident and their families through the district’s website.
California Penal Code section 243.4 offers a lengthy definition of the different forms of prosecutable sexual battery. The penalty for an adult, if convicted of sexual battery, can range from one year in jail and a $2,000 fine, to four years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
Anyone with information about this incident can call the Gilroy Police Department at (408) 846-0350.