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PAIGE A. LEECH

McDonald's Backers Overlooking the Law

July 31, 1999|PAIGE A. LEECH

Much has been written about Darryl McDonald, boys' basketball coach at Alemany High last season, and his 1989 conviction for having sex with a minor.

But much of what has been written isn't worth reading.

Since it was reported last week that McDonald is a registered sex offender and dodged employee background checks at Alemany and the YMCA by using someone else's fingerprints, there have been numerous internet postings on the subject.

Some of the anonymous writers are supportive. Some are outraged. Some are simply out to lunch.

If nothing else, it shows many people have strong feelings about McDonald, a popular coach with a dubious past.

And it is clear many do not care that, in April 1988, McDonald was charged with two counts of statutory rape, two counts of oral sex with a minor and two counts of penetration by a foreign object.

None of that matters, his supporters say, because:

"He is a good, honest, kind man. . ."

And,

"He is the best coach in the Valley, or California. . ."

And,

"Darryl has done wonders to turn [the Alemany] program around. . ."

And finally,

"[The conviction] was over 10 years ago and Darryl is a model citizen today. . ."

These are the arguments of those who think McDonald should be able to keep his jobs at Alemany and the North Valley YMCA.

He has been placed on administrative leave at Alemany pending an investigation by the Archdiocese of Los Angeles and was suspended by the YMCA.

Losing his jobs is the least of his problems now.

Police are investigating whether McDonald committed a crime by using fraudulent fingerprints and false personal information to hide his sex offense conviction from his employers.

Furthermore, he might have committed a felony by not disclosing his jobs as a youth director at the YMCA and coach at Alemany when he registered as a sex offender.

If convicted of lying on his sex offense registration, McDonald could be imprisoned for up to three years.

Supporters blame everyone from the press to the police for McDonald's predicament.

One even thought McDonald was framed.

Another wrote that the 17-year-old girl who had consensual sex with McDonald was to blame:

"Having seen how these girls look with all of their makeup and bare midriffs, short tight skirts and shorts, [buttocks] hanging out and the shameless way they go after the coaches, I can see how it happened."

Clearly, this person can't see.

Another posting, by someone claiming to be Bill Clinton:

"Newspapers should consider the fact that they can ruin a person's life, and before they print a story they should determine whether or not it is socially relevant."

If informing the public that a registered sex offender is working with kids isn't socially relevant, what is?

Despite varying opinions, one thing is clear: the law.

Since 1997, the state requires public and private schools to conduct background checks on any employee who might have contact with children.

Applicants who have been convicted of sex offenses, drug offenses or violent crimes are not employable by a state school.

McDonald knew the law. If he has broken it again, he must pay the penalty.

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