The Fallbrook Union High School District is investigating a sexual harassment claim against two wrestling coaches accused of making the team’s female statisticians compete against each other by doing degrading chores.
The girls’ mothers want the coaches fired, but many other parents support the coaches calling the accusations part of a “witch hunt” without fact or merit.
At Fallbrook High School, the statisticians are known as “stat girls.” The term refers to the position filled by female students who keep score during matches and file results.
Sophmores Angelica Magallanes and Catrina Bamber claim Fallbrook’s new 21-year-old varsity coach made them do laundry and fill up his soda cup to earn the title of “top stat girl.”
“Clean up his clothes, clean up the boys’ bandages on the floor,” said Magallanes.
“It made me feel not so great, felt like I really wasn’t there to do stats, was there to keep up after them and do stuff for them,” said Bamber.
The girls’ moms say they took their concerns about the varsity coach to the head coach, but didn’t receive any help.
They filed a formal sexual harassment claim with the district in May including allegations of inappropriate comments.
“He was saying how he has checked out the other stat girls before,” said Bamber.
In a statement from Fallbrook Union High School District Assistant Superintendent Jose Iniguez, NBC 7 received this response:
“Our District actively investigates all allegations of inappropriate behavior including those pertaining to “sexual harassment” or “inappropriate behavior/oversight.” The health and safety of students and staff is of paramount concern. However, you ask a question that pertains to confidential information regarding both students and adults. A breach of confidentiality is a violation of District policy and/or state or federal regulatory requirements and may result in denial of due process to an individual. As a result, we are unable to comment regarding allegations you raise in your email.”
Fallbrook Wrestling Association President Gary Backe called the accusations a ploy.
“I’ve been with the coaches all year long and I’ve seen nothing to warrant this accusation” said Backe.
He says the moms wanted another coach hired and started raising concerns before the season started.
“The other stat girls have told me these allegations are false. From the conversations I’ve had with them, they say these are lies, these situations didn’t happen” said Backe.
Several parents of wrestlers and stat girls at Fallbrook High School emailed NBC 7 with praise for the coaches and a group of nearly two dozen kids and adults showed up at the campus Tuesday night as a show of support for the coaches.
“I think they’re looking for something to stick. I would say at this point their agenda is a problem. I think the tactics are despicable and hopefully in the end, that’ll come out,” said Tim Oder, a retired teacher and football coach at Fallbrook HS.
The girls’ mothers told NBC 7 they realize they’re out numbered, but feel they owe it to their daughters to speak out about what they consider blatant sexual harassment.
“Just because it affected some girls and not others doesn’t mean it didn’t take place” said Lora Torres Bamber.
An interview with district officials and the two students is set for the middle of July.
Both sides blame the other for stalling and dragging the investigation past the school year into the summer.