KING CITY, Calif. (CN) – A high school wrestling coach broke a student’s nose after catching him in a bedroom with the coach’s daughter, the 15-year-old boy’s family claims in court.
The boy’s father, Luis Quintero Sr., sued South Monterey County Joint Union School District and its teacher/wrestling coach Michael Ciccarelli, in Monterey County Court.
The family claims that Ciccarelli broke a door off its hinges in the Quinteros’ home, found Quintero’s son with “a close female relative,” and then kicked and hit the boy in the face, breaking his nose.
Cicarelli’s attorney and the Salinas California reported that the girl is Cicarrelli’s daughter.
“He felt his daughter was in danger and was met with physical resistance from the wrestler,” Cicarrelli’s attorney Joseph Cisneros said.
Here’s what happened, according to the Dec. 23 lawsuit:
Ciccarelli, then 45, drove to the boy’s home to find out why he had missed wrestling practice. It was Nov. 21, 2013. Ciccarelli’s 15-year-old daughter, also a member of the team, had also missed practice. Ciccarelli had given them permission to date so long as they followed the rules like other wrestlers.
The boy’s father says he arrived at his own home at the same time as Ciccarelli. After a brief discussion, Quintero said he told Ciccarelli to stay outside while he entered the home, but Ciccarelli ignored him, entered the home and approached a locked bedroom door.
“He then forced the door open by breaking it off its hinges and proceeded to attack [the minor] Quintero, striking him in the face multiple times with his fist and foot, breaking his nose,” the complaint states.
Attorney Cisneros said the boy fought Ciccarelli after refusing to allow him into the room.
Edward Niland, the Quinteros’ attorney, could not be reached for comment.
After the attack, the Quinteros claim in the lawsuit, Ciccarelli returned to the school gym and told young Quintero’s brother, a former wrestler who helped supervise the team, that his brother had accidentally broken his nose when it struck a door.
The brother, Luis Quintero Jr., is also a plaintiff in the case.
According to the Monterey County Herald, the 15-year-old Quintero was treated for injuries at a hospital. The Monterey County Sheriff’s Department investigated, and Ciccarelli was charged with felony battery, according to the Herald. Ciccarelli, who has taught for 20 years, was placed on administrative leave while the case proceeded.
A judge, citing Ciccarelli’s work with community youth, allowed the charge to be reduced to a misdemeanor, the Californian reported. Cisneros said that Ciccarelli had helped many disadvantaged students get scholarships.
“He had a pretty good chance of winning the case,” said Cisneros, who negotiated the no-contest plea.
But fighting the charges entailed a risk: If Ciccarelli lost, he could have faced incarceration and termination from his job. Instead, he was ordered to perform 20 days of community service and was allowed to return to work.
The family claims the district knew Ciccarrelli was overly aggressive and intimidating as a coach and elicited fear from his athletes.
“Defendant SMCJUSD knew or should have known that absent appropriate supervision and control Coach Ciccarelli was capable and likely to commit violence toward a team member,” the complaint states.
Daniel Moirao, administrator for the district, was not available for comment.
While Ciccarelli continues to teach at the school, he’s no longer the wrestling coach.
“That’s kind of unfortunate because he kind of built that program from scratch,” Cisneros said.
Last week the younger Quintero was named to the school’s honor roll.
- An End to Crime
- Sexual Assault