School board President Joe Hooven has refused to testify or cooperate with an investigation into sex and high school football recruiting scandals--instead calling the endeavor a "witch hunt," fellow board members disclosed Thursday.
A board subcommittee looking into the cases that have racked the once-proud Burbank High School football program castigated Hooven in a written report released at a board meeting Thursday night.
The tersely worded statement, which was signed by board members Denise Wilcox and Mike McDonald, accused Hooven of claiming to support the committee's investigation in hopes of clearing his name and then backing out of an agreement to testify in front of the committee under oath.
"It is imperative that all the allegations be investigated thoroughly," the statement read in part. "In order to ensure the investigation would be fair and complete, the committee determined that it was important to take testimony under oath and in the presence of a court reporter.
"Despite being advised in advance that he would give answers under oath, Mr. Hooven, through his attorney, has refused to testify under oath, instead, calling the investigation a 'witch hunt' by members of the board. The committee is disappointed by Mr. Hooven's failure to meet his previous commitment to cooperate."
The board made no other remarks regarding the investigation during Thursday's meeting.
A board-commissioned California Interscholastic Federation report concluded earlier this month that Hooven and other school district employees, including a former Burbank High School football coach, repeatedly violated rules against recruiting athletes from other high schools.
The 70-page report was prepared by an independent investigator who interviewed school administrators and coaches and visited football players and their parents to determine whether they were legal residents of Burbank. The report alleges that some Burbank High players lived outside the city and that officials and boosters rented apartments in the city for some players.
Meanwhile, a school fund-raiser, Salle Dumm, faces trial for allegedly seducing a teenage football player with promises of funding for the athletic program. The incident occurred in July, but police were not told of the felony allegations until November, according to a Burbank Police Department spokesman.
The school board investigation has widened into determining when Hooven first became aware of the allegations in the Dumm case, according to knowledgeable sources.