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Tate contends that officials promised at the 1984 meeting to keep Turner away from children. That promise is reflected in the memo, along with allegations by a security officer who "gave the names of several students that Mr. Turner may have made inappropriate advances toward." Yet Turner was never disciplined or reassigned. Turner, who also worked as a part-time security guard at Eliot Middle School in Altadena, continued his part-time track and football coaching duties. Martin left Muir and finished his last two years at another local high school.
Tate said in a recent interview that after that meeting, she thought Turner would be "put on as a janitor at night, or something.
"I didn’t follow Mr. Turner’s career after that," Tate said, adding that the family has since moved to the Pomona area. "But now, here we are 16 years later, and he [Turner] is at the same school where all this stuff took place. The [district] never did anything, and that’s very disturbing. Clearly, clearly, clearly, they’ve known. It’s just all very disturbing."
Martin and the other adult alleged victims never filed formal complaints with police but were allowed to testify in the criminal case of the two latest victims under a recent penal-code provision that allows prosecutors in sex-offense cases to introduce such testimony in order to demonstrate a pattern of behavior.
Deputy L.A. District Attorney Amy Suehiro asked to bring three more alleged past victims as witnesses, one of them a member of Turner’s family. But their testimony was barred by Pasadena Superior Court Judge Mary Thornton House.
Suehiro, Pasadena Police Detective George Vidal and Sergeant Tom Delgado said in separate interviews that during their investigations they learned that many kids at Muir said they knew to steer clear of Turner, even if school officials didn’t.
In fact, police themselves knew of at least one person who claimed to have been molested as a child by Turner. That person, who was also barred from testifying, had been arrested himself in 1992 for molesting his own 8-year-old daughter. During his interrogation, and during a subsequent trial, he said he had those urges because he was molested by Turner as a boy, according to a motion filed by Suehiro.
Vidal said he did not know the detective handling that case, but said it would take more than the word of a suspected child molester to launch an investigation into the behavior of Turner, one of Pasadena’s most respected sports figures.
However, Delgado said investigators found that many children attending Muir had suspicions of Turner. But he said there is no evidence to show that school officials had prior knowledge of Turner’s sexual activities.
"There were rumors in the school that Mr. Turner was not straight. We talked to more than a few people who said that it was known in school between peers and students," Delgado said. "Now I’m not saying the faculty knew, or that the administration knew. But the students talked among themselves and told each other to be careful because there’s something that isn’t straight about Mr. Turner."
Delgado pointed out that that doesn’t mean school officials had no prior knowledge of Turner’s behavior. "We just couldn’t prove it," he said.