Charged Dropped Against High School Wrestler Accused of “Sex Assault” on Teammate

UPDATE::  January:  29, 2011: :  (scroll down)

January 27, 2011::  Justice is Served:Charge Dropped Against High school wrestler accused of “Assaulting” his Teammate: : 

Clovis School District owes Preston Hill an apology, should reinstate him immediately: : 

I don’t write an editorial very often, but this case deserves a full-fledged “swarm” from readers.: :  It’s just wrong.

Editorial by Jane Jamison, UNCOVERAGE.net: : 

Fresno County, California judge David Gottlieb has shown wisdom and reason and : has done the wise thing this week:: :  After mediation between the parties, which involved attending a seminar and writing a paper, the judge has dropped a ridiculous: sexual assault charge against 17-year-old championship high school wrestler Preston Hill.: :  No apology is necessary from Hill to the alleged “victim” in this case, who is a freshman wrestler on Hill’s team.: : 

(see the story on charges being dropped : here at Fresno Bee.) (see more links to previous stories below.): 

Preston Hill:  — photo courtesy of Fresno Bee

If anything, an apology should be forthcoming from the “victim” and his family, and the Clovis Unified School District to Preston Hill. : On the basis of this flimsy allegation, without any conviction on any criminal charge, the school district suspended Hill and later expelled him from his high school. : Hill will not be able to graduate with his class, his name in the community has been smeared, his chances at a college scholarship may be ended by the controversy.: : The story has gotten headlines NATIONWIDE.

The Clovis Unified School District owes Preston Hill and his family a written and public apology, should immediately reinstate him to his high school graduating class and should hope that no civil litigation is filed by Preston Hill and his family.:  They certainly have grounds for damages.: : 

Fresno Bee:: : 

No one disputes Hill grabbed his teammate’s butt cheek to execute a wrestling move called the “butt drag” during a July practice at Buchanan High.: : 

The teammate, however, told Clovis police that Hill rammed two fingers into his anus through his gym shorts and underwear.: : 

Hill denied the allegation, telling police he employed a legitimate wrestling move in order to motivate his teammate to wrestle.: : 

After learning the case was dismissed, former Fresno State wrestling coach Dennis DeLiddo said today he was glad it was over, because many people don’t understand the “butt drag” move.”: : 

“Coaches don’t teach kids to stick their fingers up someone’s butt. How stupid can you be?” he said.: : 

In his opinion, DeLiddo said Hill didn’t do anything wrong to even warrant expulsion.: : 

“It should have been resolved by the parents,” he said. “This case was a bunch of bull.”: : 

There is lot more to this story:

Hill, a senior and captain of the wrestling team has been on target to go on to a college wrestling career, possibly with a scholarship, until this case put a “stain” on his name.: : 

During practice a few months ago, Hill was grappling with a freshman on the team and used what is called the “butt drag” maneuver.:  Basically, a wrestler grabs the butt-cheek of his opponent in an effort to flip or gain advantage.:  It is a common maneuver in wrestling.: : 

The “victim,” a freshman, made no complaint about the move in practice, and in fact, was joking and having a good time and never even mentioned the incident, according to witnesses and the coach.:  It wasn’t until sometime later, that the younger wrestler said: something to his step-mother and then to his father.:  The father is a former counselor for a local child-abuse agency.: : : 

The “victim” was taken to a doctor, who found slight redness in the victim’s anal area. The fingers, if they did go in or near the anus, were OVER the victim’s work-out clothes, it was not a “skin-on-skin” allegation. : : Sorry, but any kid who is truly “practicing” on a high school wrestling team SHOULD be coming home with some red marks, bruises and soreness here or there.: : 

Wrestling is one of the most “intimate” contact sports there is.:  There are demanding requirements to maintain a certain weight : while still remaining strong.:  By its very nature, the sport requires grabbing, pinching, wedging, pushing, and personally over-powering the opponent.: :  It’s not like, for example, golf, where players don’t even break a sweat.: : 

We have too much “feminization” of boys going on due to neurotic parenting, : and: an over-emphasis on political-correctness and “self-esteem.”:  Boys are being “wussified” from an early age by over-indulgent “helicopter” parents who preach to “play nice,” “share,” and “don’t be a bully.”:  They don’t teach their children to deal with their own problems with classmates or teachers.: : : They are overly-involved, and try to “protect” their children from even : the tiniest slight by calling parents, teachers, and coaches.: :  They over-schedule and micro-manage their children’s lives.: : 

The father of the victim has been throwing his weight around : as some sort of “child abuse expert”: : to : the school district, the county attorney’s office, and in the media.:  He should now shut the hell up and apologize to the Hill family.:  Judging from his arrogant statements to the Fresno Bee, I am sure he will NOT see the error of his ways.: :  He taught his son a terrible lesson::  To whine about being bullied, instead of learning to “blend” into a team sport, and to quickly escalate a small incident into a huge clusterf++k of : community “experts” — police, school board, county attorney, judge.:  What a waste of time and effort, and taxpayer dollars when Fresno county faces budget cuts and reductions in personnel.: : 

The remaining issue is Preston Hill’s graduation.:  He should be allowed to graduate from his own high school IF HE WANTS.: : 

Contact: Clovis Unified School Board members:  559-555-1212: : 

Elizabeth ‘Betsy’ Sandoval, Member | Brian D. Heryford, Member : : Sandra A. Bengel, Member |Ginny L. Hovsepian, President
Dr. Jim Van Volkinburg, Member |F. Scott Troescher, Clerk
Christopher Casado, Vice-President: : 

Tell the Clovis School Board : to bring back Preston Hill to school with a welcoming assembly, a written and public apology, and let him graduate with his class.: : 

To the family of the “victim:”: :  Shame on both of you for teaching your son to be a wimp and a whiner.: :  You are to blame for this ridiculously overblown situation, not so much your son.:  : The father’s public comments show no remorse whatsoever.:  The step-mother obviously has no clue what she is doing and needs to be minimalized as an influence on the stepson. You should take your son out of the high school and put him somewhere else and put all three of you in counseling with a therapist who will tell you all to “buck up or wear a cup.”:  You owe the Hill family damages, in my humble opinion.: : 

To Preston Hill and family::  Way to hang in there.:  Civil damages are probably due, but trying to get “justice” from a “legal” system is a long process which may prolong the pain.:  You will decide as a family what is best, let your attorney’s advice be secondary to YOUR decision.: : 

To Fresno County attorney Beth Egan:: :  Deputy District attorney Elana Smith should be fired immediately.: : : 

On December 7 , your deputy county attorney Elana Smith was quoted in the Fresno Bee saying that she refused to drop charges against Preston Hill despite overwhelming evidence the charge was a huge “over-reaction” to a wrestling practice:: : 

“…. the source said Smith, a 12-year-veteran of the District Attorney’s Office, is willing to stake her reputation — and her job — on the case. “She believes a crime has been committed, and she won’t back down,” the source said.”: : 

Obviously, Ms. Egan, you have over-ruled your underling who perpetuated this witchhunt against a championship athlete.: :  You are now refusing comment on this case.:  Let us hope you hold Ms. Smith to her word and make her step down from her job at the district attorney’s office.:  The good citizens and taxpayers of Fresno County do not need this kind of:  strident:  “public servant” sucking up a salary and pension.:  This case should never have seen the light of day and Ms. Egan, YOU KNOW IT.: : : 

Elana : Smith, by her actions, has set up Fresno County for civil liability.: :  She needs to go.: : Contact: 559-600-3141.

Background stories on this case from the Fresno Bee which form factual basis for this editorial:

Apology not required as charge dropped in ‘butt drag’

Trial delayed in Buchanan wrestler’s case

Buchanan wrestler’s trial pushed to Jan. 27

Panel recommends expulsion in Buchanan ‘butt drag’ case

Clovis Unified expels wrestler in ‘butt drag’ case

Wrestler to make plea to Clovis school board

Calif school board upholds expulsion of wrestler

Sexual-battery trial for Buchanan wrestler delayed

Editorial by Jane Jamison, UNCOVERAGE.net.: : : 

I am a mother of two grown girls, both of whom were involved in many team sports from kindergarten through high school.:  I have served as a school room mother, team mom, fundraiser, publicist for : Class I and youth rec soccer, swimming, USA swimming, USA water polo, softball, and/or CYO basketball for 20 years and worked three years in our soccer league as age-group coordinator recruiting and training coaches for 40 youth teams.:  I took part in and helped develop curriculum for in-service programs to for parents of players on the advanced-level soccer teams — (how to behave on sidelines at games, how to be a good “team” parent, sports nutrition, : how to delegate to the coach, how not to “live” through your kids.):  I have also been a FIFA soccer referee. I was a cheerleader for football, basketball, and wrestling in high school and college. : I do: know what the hell I am talking about when it comes to youth competitive sports.: 

What has happened to Preston Hill is WRONG and needs to be remedied IMMEDIATELY.:  His future depends upon clearing his name.:  Because he is a senior in high school, this is a time-sensitive situation.

: UPDATE::  Preston Hill has formally appealed his expulsion from his high school.:  He wants to graduate with his class.: :  Please contact the school board.

“Hill said the accusation by his teammate “ruined my senior year at Buchanan.” Magill said he hoped the appeal can be processed in time to allow Hill to return to Buchanan and graduate with his class.

[…]

“I do not know what motivated him to lie about me,” he said. “Everything [the teammate] has said about me has been false or misleading.:  “I am not a bully,” Hill said. “During my four years at Buchanan, I have never been accused of bullying or any other sort of misconduct.”

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