CORONADO, Calif. (KGTV) - Team 10 has been given exclusive access to the Coronado Unified School District's internal emails and other documents about a water polo coach who was previously accused of molestation but later exonerated. Investigative reporter Jennifer Kastner has an interview with the coach that you will only see on 10News.
The emails and documents about Coach Randy Burgess have been at the heart of an ongoing court battle. Burgess says that many of the emails are from parents to educators and they are only one-sided allegations. The Voice of San Diego, a local online news organization, has been fighting for them and will be getting them next week. We have them now.
“The claims are totally fabricated,” Burgess tells us. He’s sounding off on pages of the never-before-publicized emails about him. “As we talk about those dark points that some people experience [in life], I [now] have a much, much deeper understanding of what they've gone through,” he adds.
In an email, a parent writes to the school that in 2009 when her daughter was a freshman, during a childbirth film, Burgess made a comment about waxing of the mother’s private area. Another parent writes that "Randy was so overly inappropriate" with her daughter that she "called, in tears" at least twice. Another parent reports that Burgess "condoned and egged on the [p**sy] brigade”, a club meant to “deflower virgins”.
The school district later reinstated Burgess and he was allowed to come back to work in late 2017
“That's complete nonsense,” says Burgess’ attorney, Matthew Herron. He says these emails are mere accusations, with no merit. The emails were sent either during or after the time that Burgess was put on paid leave for the alarming allegations that he repeatedly sexually assaulted a former player.
However, the District Attorney's office declined to prosecute. The school district later reinstated Burgess and he was allowed to come back to work in late 2017. The molestation claim, in its entirety, is included in these new documents.
The Voice of San Diego fought to get the records from the school district, but Burgess and his attorney fought back. A judge recently decided that the district should release the documents. Burgess is sharing them with us now, so he can tell his side of the story.
One of the reasons he and his attorney say they tried to keep these records from the public, was to protect the privacy of former water polo players who are referenced in the emails. In reference to redactions, Herron tells us, “Blacking out their names is not going to solve this problem, in my opinion, and I tried to convince the court that and the school fought us and won.”
Burgess adds, “They’re great people and I think that anybody who would hear these claims would immediately disregard what somebody has said about them.”
In an email from a parent to the school, the parent claims that her neighbor is a “water polo coach in East County” where “male and female players” were “sexually harassed by Burgess”.
“The allegations are outrageous,” Burgess says.
An email describes a woman who sued in the '90's for sexual harassment from Burgess. 10News tracked down the actual complaint for sex discrimination. A former aquatics center employee said Burgess would call her derogatory, sexist names.
Burgess tells us that the case was about workplace hostility, but he says there was never sexual misconduct. It eventually settled. “The parents, the people, the students, the former athletes and students that I’ve had know better than to believe what might be in the documents,” he adds.
"The majority of the emails that are now being released are from parents who support Burgess and believe he's a moral pillar in the community. A total of 116 pages include signatures that were submitted in favor of reinstating him. “I had an incredible amount of support,” says Burgess.
Burgess is currently suing the school district for defamation, which 10News reported on last Fall. We’ve uploaded all 200 pages of records which we referenced in the story.