Usually the only attorneys around the San Marino High basketball program are the ones watching their kids play.
San Marino coach quits amid police probe
By Marshall Allen Staff Writer
SAN MARINO – Coach Patrick Gillan has resigned in the midst of a police investigation into his relationship with a 17-year-old girl.
Though both Gillan and the girl maintain he has done nothing wrong, the 40-year-old quit Wednesday after seven years coaching the San Marino High School girls basketball team.
His attorney said the resignation was the culmination of ongoing questions about Gillan over the past five years – since San Marino police publicized his arrest for an alleged sexual assault of a player.
“The problem is, ever since the San Marino Police Department held this news conference and published these scurrilous accusations about him, everyone looks at him differently,” said attorney John Burton.
One of Gillan’s former players accused him of sexual assault in December 2001, which led the San Marino Police Department to arrest him and publicize the allegations in search of possible victims. The District Attorney’s Office never charged Gillan. He was suspended from school for two months and then reinstated.
The situation led to a lawsuit against the Police Department and, in January 2005, a jury awarded Gillan $4.4 million.
Gillan, who Burton said is single, is now being investigated by the Glendale Police Department after he was found alone in his car with a female San Marino High School student in Crescenta Valley Park on Sunday night. Agent John Balian, spokesman for Glendale police, said officers contacted Gillan but did not arrest him. He said he could comment further in the coming week, but did not want to say anything that might jeopardize the investigation.
“We’re not hiding anything,” Balian said. “At this point, we just can’t confirm or deny anything.”
Burton said Gillan was with a 17-year-old San Marino High School senior who played on the team during the past season and was now helping him coach spring practices.
At the park, the two were playing Scrabble and “having conversations about whatever was going on in their respective lives,” Burton said.
Gillan’s car was in a well-lit, well-traveled area of the park, he said. The two had gotten into the vehicle to leave, and Gillan was in the driver’s seat, with the girl in the passenger seat. Both were fully clothed and there was no inappropriate contact, Burton said. Just after 10 p.m. they were approached by an officer, he said.
According to the girl, who asked to remain unnamed for her own privacy, nothing inappropriate occurred while the two were at the park for a few hours. They were talking and police arrived after they hugged, she said. The police “thought something was going on,” she said, adding that the whole incident was a “huge misconception, taken out of proportion.”
The 17-year-old said she has never had a physical relationship with Gillan. The police interviewed her for about 90 minutes Sunday night, she said, and may want to interview her again in the coming days. She said her parents are “fully aware” of the situation, and “it was just like a bad decision on both our parts to go alone to the park.”
After the long weekend, Gillan immediately reported the incident to the San Marino Unified School District, Burton said. Wednesday, during an appointment to discuss the incident, the coach realized that with the previous allegations of misconduct, the current situation was going to “take on a dimension” that he, the district and the teenager did not need, Burton said. So he resigned, and will look for positions coaching boys basketball, Burton said.
“Anything he does will be judged from the stink that was caused by these false charges \ and that press conference,” Burton said. “That’s why he just said, `It’s time for me to move on.”‘
Burton conceded that Sunday’s incident showed bad judgment by Gillan.
A local girls basketball coach, who asked to remain anonymous, agreed Gillan exercised poor judgment. He said he doesn’t ever give girls rides or put himself in any situation where he’s alone with a player.
“It could be totally innocent, you could be talking about a game,” the coach said. “But it’s what other people see. Unfortunately, perception is reality.”
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