Full St. Paul Reinstatement Story

I know there was a bit of confusion on the WDN website over a pair of stories regarding Friday morning’s reinstatement of 7 of 8 St. Paul High School varsity football coaches.

One story posted is a brief that first ran online Friday afternoon and is obviously abbreviated. The second story in the middle of the news page is the more in depth article that ran in print today.

Just in case there’s any confusion, here’s the link to the full news story, photo and letter to parents from St. Paul principal Kate AcevesSt. Paul reinstates 7 of 8 football coaches

Here’s the full text of the story:

St. Paul reinstates 7 of 8 football coaches
Principal considering discipline against team for hazing incident
By Andrew J. Campa, Staff Writer
Posted: 08/27/2010 06:14:45 PM PDT

SANTA FE SPRINGS – Nearly the entire St. Paul High School varsity football coaching staff was reinstated Friday after a school-imposed, eight-day suspension prompted by a joint investigation by the school and the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles into a hazing incident.

In a letter mailed to parents Friday, Principal Kate Aceves wrote that head coach Marijon Ancich and assistant coaches Visko Ancich, Rich Avia Jr., Lou Cabral, Oliver Cepeida, Rich Estrella and Anthony Wilson were reinstated.

One varsity coach was not welcomed back.

That coach is believed to be Juan Gonzalez, a freshman coach from 2005-09 who was promoted to varsity this season. Attempts to contact Gonzalez were not successful. Gonzalez was not present at Friday evening’s St. Paul scrimmage.

Neither Aceves nor anyone affiliated with St. Paul would say if Gonzalez was dismissed.

Aceves said one coach was gone due to a “non-renewal of his contract because of a personnel issue.”

The principal confirmed in her letter that some sort of hazing took place at the school Aug. 14.

“Our investigation concluded that a hazing incident occurred, in violation of the California Education Code 48900 and our school and archdiocesan policies as outlined in the Parent/Student Handbook,” wrote Aceves.

Aceves said she was unable to comment on the type or harshness of the hazing or total number of people involved, saying the involvement of minors

required her to keep it confidential. Aceves said the majority of the football team, including players and coaches, “had some sort of involvement whether as a witness or participant.”

Aceves wrote in her letter: “As a result of the process, the football coaching staff and team will face disciplinary action. The disciplinary action will not include forfeiture of any football games.”

While the coaches were reinstated, Aceves was adamant in saying they weren’t getting off easy.

“I don’t want the community to think just because all of these coaches are back that it’s just a slap on the wrist,” Aceves said. “This football team will face disciplinary action.”

Those actions won’t likely come down until sometime next week.

“There is a personnel policy and procedures outlined in the administrative (guidelines),” Aceves said. “There are some very clear things that will take place.”

Aceves initially suspended the entire varsity coaching staff on Aug. 19 after she became aware of the incident.

She sent a letter to parents on the 19th informing them of the investigation and the suspensions.

The same day she called the Whittier police, which polices Santa Fe Springs. Officers took a “suspicious circumstances” report, Lt. Bill Webster said. Webster said he was not familiar with the status of the investigation.

The next day, Aceves reinstated offensive coordinator Visko Ancich and defensive backs coach Avina.

“I needed to ensure the safety of the players, but I did need some coaching experience on staff,” Aceves said. “I would have loved to reinstate the whole coaching staff but couldn’t.

“Both Visko Ancich and Avina Jr. were cleared after we found they had nothing to do with the hazing.”

Even though some criticized the suspensions as over the top, Aceves said she only had one thought in mind.

“The suspensions were heavy-handed, but I would do them again,” Aceves said. “The safety of the students is the utmost concern of mine. I did not want to take any risk.”

Aceves stated the archdiocese’s role in the investigation has ended. In her letter, she detailed its involvement.

“The Archdiocesan investigators, who are former FBI special agents, assisted us in a review of the matter and interviewed the staff, students and families that were involved,” Aceves wrote.

Tod Tamberg, the archdiocese media relations director, confirmed all interviews were held last week and that the investigation happened in a timely manner.

He said the archdiocese had no further comment.

St. Paul athletic director Casey Morales did not return a call.

Marijon Ancich said he was happy the investigation was over, but was surprised by the whole process.

“I’ve never encountered anything like this before, ever. It was completely befuddling,” Ancich said. “Some of the people involved don’t understand sports and preparing and having players in a condition to compete.”

andrew.campa@sgvn.com
562-698-0955, ext. 3061

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  • Anonymous

    Just wondering if its true that St. Paul transfer Drake Griffen is ineligable at La Habra.

  • Wow

    I guess he was the easiest one to blame and get rid of, sounds like another cover up.

  • http://www.insidesocal.com/murray/2010/08/full-st-paul-reinstatement-sto.html Scholar, Athlete, Gentleman

    Bring out the brooms, this is another scandal swept under the bed. It is no wonder that the Catholic Church has the problems that it has with harassment of young boys by priests. The prevailing attitude seems to be “I will not tell you anything but trust me, here is your sacrifice, I will take care of everything else and the justice will be harsh.” I have heard nothing about the punishment for other players involved let alone the punishment for the Coaching Staff for institutional lack of oversight and leadership that promotes students to believe that it is acceptable to bully their own team mates while their Coaches stand by and allow it. We are simply told that this is an internal matter and SP will do whatever SP feels is best without our involvement. Isnt this similar to the way the Catholic Church handled the abuse scandal for years? Perhaps when a storied program can no longer compete on the field, then student athletes are left to feel good about themselves for beating up on the weakest in their own program.

    What has happened at SP to the ideal of athletics as a model for teaching children the attributes and skills necessary to excel in society? The real evaluation for the worth of a program is whether it meets this test. It is apparent that at St Paul, the program is a failure and no longer relevant. I believe that it is time to make a real statement about improper conduct and consequences. It is only when the church hierarchy does this that they will have moral authority for leading others.

  • Anonymous

    Scholar I dont think so in this bad economy sometimes are emotions do get the best of us ….sounds like your house is underwater…LOL

  • SP

    WoW
    Sounds like alot of wheels were spun for nothing. A pony and dog show, Its wierd but ever alumni that has played football at SP has stories to tell about the DEN. Oh well and please dont comment back that every school does it,thats not a very good excuse.

  • http://www.insidesocal.com/murray/2010/08/full-st-paul-reinstatement-sto.html Scholar, Athlete, Gentleman

    Anonymous, I have written salient observations about the administrative handling of repugnant and abhorrent behavior and the best that you can say is that I must be wrong because my economic circumstances are affecting my judgment (and I am giving your response far more logical and intellectual weight than it deserves). Let me correct your misconceptions. First, my financial circumstances are quite buoyant and in fact you would be quite happy to have my resources. Second, my observations about the similarities between the Catholic Church’s way of dealing with scandal and SP’s way of dealing with scandal is in no way emotional or economically based. Please deal with the validity of the points made rather than wrongly trying to discredit the person making the points. When you do so, you only demonstrate your ignorance. Lastly, the correct English usage is “our emotions” not “are emotions”. If you are going to go to the trouble of commenting, the least you could do is correct you grammar and your punctuation. By the tone, tenor and quality of your response, you are obviously one of those that Athletics did not prepare with the attributes and skills necessary to excel in society.

  • WHATT????

    Scholar,bla,blah…

    hey lawyer, shut up.
    what are u trying to prove, that u own a dictionary.
    anyone who calls himself a gentlemen, is well i can’t say, im a gentlemen…O man u made my day, u must be fuuny as hell to watch on a date…”It’s my observation and circumstance as well misconceptions, if you be so kind… TO allow me to demonstrate
    my skills on the dance floor. hahahahah ur funny …

    don’t ever disrepect SPHS…u have no clue what is to be a swordsmen.

    SPell check that PUNK.

  • http://www.insidesocal.com/murray/2010/08/full-st-paul-reinstatement-sto.html#comments Scholar, Athlete, Gentleman

    What????? You have adequately demonstrated that you are an idiot and a fool… I bet I am not as funny to watch on a date as you are to watch at work (presuming that you can hold down a job)… I only have to read the inane level of your discourse to get all too clear a clue what it is to be a Swordsman (and yes the proper use in the singular is Swordsman not Swordsmen)… I don’t need to disrespect SPHS, I believe that the quality of your writing brings an clear evaluation of SPHS to everyone that reads it.

  • Anonymous

    Dear scholar & buoyant your motives are shady….just an opinion,if you are so bent on hating St.Paul then do something about it….its ok times are tough my brother …like it are not I still think you are entitled to your own OPINION nothing more than a bitter person I feel sorry for your spouse who ever she or he maybe.

  • Anonymous

    Hey Scholar you win now get off the blogs and go get a life….have you try to modify?

  • WhaTT Again…

    I guess my joke was over ur head, and I think or is thought u were smart…ur a clown, I was making fun of u…I knew or know my writing skills would piss u off, u showed(opps Shown) everyone that ur a class act…
    Ur dad must be proud. Ok enough already gent…move on.

  • FB Mom

    Welcome back Coach M. Ancich!

  • Pit Alum

    I have never posted on this blog, but read it every once in a while. However, I feel compelled to comment on the “Scholar, Athlete, Gentlemen” remarks. Although there may have been a valid point in your initial comments, you completely discredited that point by coming off as pompous and judgmental. Every school has bad apples, but to simply insult an entire school, its underpaid yet dedicated staff, and its alumni (many of whom are quite successful and well educated) demonstrates only a lack of class and reason on your part. I do believe discipline for the recent events is in order, but I also believe that as minors are involved, such discipline should respect the sensitivity and privacy of the issues involved. If you truly believe that the school and the program is “no longer relevant” then just move on to matters that you feel are more to your liking. I for one would rather focus on possible solutions than empty criticisms.

  • Grammar Police

    To Scholar, Athlete, Gentleman:

    Here is your intellectually-deficient quote that tried to insult one of the bloggers:

    “Lastly, the correct English usage is “our emotions” not “are emotions”. If you are going to go to the trouble of commenting, the least you could do is correct you grammar and your punctuation. By the tone, tenor and quality of your response, you are obviously one of those that Athletics did not prepare with the attributes and skills necessary to excel in society.”

    ….”correct YOU grammar and punctuation…” hahaha!

    You have a lot of nerve. Learn how to spell before you insult others.

  • SPHS alum

    St. Paul marches on, as it always has, with the tail wagging the dog. Just win baby.

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