Wednesday, April 29, 2009

PRP football players allege retaliation

Statements on death said to bring action

This from Toni Konz at C-J:

Jefferson County school officials are investigating allegations of retaliation against some Pleasure Ridge Park High School football players who gave statements to police after the death of their teammate, Max Gilpin.

Superintendent Sheldon Berman said yesterday that he has asked Joe Burks, assistant superintendent of high schools, to look into the allegations.

Berman said he has not received any complaints but was asked about the matter during a deposition last week in a lawsuit filed by Max's parents, Michele Crockett and Jeff Gilpin. "As soon as I got back (to the office), I instructed my staff to investigate," he said.

Berman also said he will meet next week with officials from the office of Jefferson County Commonwealth's Attorney Dave Stengel to discuss issues related to the criminal case against former PRP head football coach Jason Stinson.

Steve Tedder, a spokesman for the office, said yesterday that Stengel was aware of the allegations of retaliation and confirmed that a meeting with Berman was requested...

And this:

Berman e-mail defended coaches
Message sent to board before PRP player died
In his sworn deposition, taken April 14 and filed yesterday in Jefferson Circuit Court, Berman said he wrote at 8:57 p.m. on Aug. 23 that it was not anticipated that the 15-year-old football player would survive. Max died that day.

"This is very depressing news," Berman wrote. "The coach followed all the guidelines for practices in the heat, but it is devastating none the less."

Berman said in his deposition that his e-mail stemmed from preliminary information he had received about the district's inquiry into Max's collapse several days earlier.

"It appeared from the initial conversation that procedures had been followed, that all the guidelines for practices in the heat had been followed," Berman said in his deposition...
During the deposition, Berman testified that he had concerns about how [PRP principal David] Johnson handled the initial investigation in the days immediately following Max's collapse -- before the district launched a separate investigation the following week.

"I was disappointed that he (Johnson) didn't have any notes and didn't take notes, and we've made that pretty clear," Berman said. "On the other hand, we pulled him off of the investigation pretty immediately on Monday (Aug. 25). So he did not have a great deal of time to investigate the situation." ...

And finally:

Gilpin's parents can't get JCPS file
School system says effort may take four more weeks

Jefferson County Public Schools won't have to turn over its investigative file to the parents of a Pleasure Ridge Park football player who died after suffering heat stroke at a practice, a Jefferson circuit judge says.

Circuit Judge Mitch Perry issued the ruling yesterday without comment after reading a copy of the district's investigative file into 15-year-old Max Gilpin's death...

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