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Former wrestling coach convicted of molesting nine boys and girls he mentored

Former wrestling coach convicted of molesting nine boys and girls he mentored
Former wrestling coach Terry Terrell Gillard was convicted of molesting six boys and girls. (Manly Stewart law firm)

A former wrestling coach at a Sun Valley high school who also worked with a boys and girls club has been convicted of dozens of counts of child molestation and sexual abuse with nine boys and girls he mentored.

It took less than a day for jurors to convict Terry Terrell Gillard of 47 felony and misdemeanor counts of child molestation.

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Gillard met his victims through his role as a wrestling coach at John H. Francis Polytechnic High School, where he was also a campus aide, and his work at the Boys and Girls Club.

The verdict reached Monday was read in a Los Angeles Superior Court on Tuesday morning after seven weeks of emotional testimony with a parade of victims.

During the trial, jurors heard testimony that Gillard sexually abused young wrestlers as far back as 1991, when he directed an 11-year-old boy to have sex with an adult woman in the backseat of the coach’s Cadillac while he watched. He then allegedly also engaged in a sex act with the minor.

Gillard, according to testimony, also directed young wrestlers between 2014 and 2017 to engage in sexual acts while he watched inside his vehicles and in a van owned and maintained by the Boys and Girls Club. Prosecutors also showed jurors a video of him sexually assaulting two girl wrestlers from Polytechnic.

Gillard was found guilty of 37 felony and 10 misdemeanor counts, including lewd acts on children under the age of 16, oral copulation with a minor, procuring children to engage in lewd acts, and child molesting.

L.A. Superior Court Judge Hayden Zacky ordered Gillard be held without bail after the verdict pending his June pre-sentencing appearance. Gillard, 59, of Sylmar now faces upward of 50 years in prison at the sentencing.

An attorney for several victims praised the verdict. “Our clients are truly gratified by and thankful for the jury’s verdict in the criminal case and are hopeful that the court will impose a prison sentence that reflects the serious nature of these crimes,” said John Manly, a civil attorney for several of the victims.

The victims include seven boys and two girls between the ages of 11 and 14 at the time of the offenses.

Three of the victims have sued the former coach, the Los Angeles Unified School District and the Boys and Girls Club of San Fernando alleging that the institutions had prior knowledge of misconduct by the former coach and should have removed him from having contact with children.

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