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L.A. Unified wrestling coach charged with sexually assaulting 4 students

A wrestling coach at a Los Angeles Unified high school was charged Thursday with sexually assaulting four students during the last three years, authorities said.

Terry Terrell Gillard, 56, is accused of committing the abusive acts starting in 2014, against children he met through the wrestling team at John H. Francis Polytechnic High School in Sun Valley, according to the Los Angeles County district attorney's office.

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Gillard faces more than two dozen felony charges, including 23 counts of lewd acts upon a 14- or 15-year-old child, two counts of attempted lewd acts upon a 14- or 15-year-old child and a count of sexual battery. He also faces four misdemeanor charges of child annoyance.

Los Angeles police arrested Gillard on Thursday. The coach, a resident of Sylmar, remains the subject of an ongoing investigation by the LAPD's Juvenile Division.

Gillard was a campus aide at the Sun Valley school, Los Angeles Unified Schools Supt. Michelle King said in a statement. The district is cooperating with police, she added.

"Mr. Gillard was immediately reassigned from the school," King said. "The safety and well-being of our students remains our top priority. While recognizing that everyone is innocent until proven guilty, these allegations are extremely upsetting, and we take them very seriously."

In a San Fernando courtroom, Gillard pleaded not guilty. He is being held in lieu of $750,000 bail.

If convicted, he faces 24 years in state prison.

Twitter: @lacrimes

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