Mater Dei chairman Walter Jenkins resigns – press enterprise

Mater Dei high school president Father Walter Jenkins has resigned amid a power struggle between Jenkins and Mater Dei head football coach Bruce Rollinson and his supporters.

Jenkins’ departure comes just days before lawyers at a Sacramento law firm began questioning students and staff at Mater Dei as part of an investigation into the culture of football and football programs. Monarch athletics. The investigation, commissioned by Jenkins in November, follows a series of reports from the Orange County registry detailing the alleged assaults of three Monarch football players on a teammate and classmate.

Registry reports have garnered national attention and prompted growing calls for the sacking of Rollinson and Mater Dei manager Frances Clare, even as Mater Dei rode in the national championship.

Jenkins’ departure was announced Saturday in a letter to the Mater Dei community by Erin CO Barisano, Superintendent of Schools for the Diocese of Orange.

Barisano said Jenkins has returned to the Order of Holy Cross in South Bend, Indiana, where he “will take on a new assignment.”

“As Superintendent Barisano noted in her letter to the Mater Dei family, Father Jenkins has been called back to his order,” Mater Dei said in a statement. a deeply unfair connection with Father Jenkins who served Mater Dei well during his tenure.

Jenkins became Mater Dei’s primary administrator in July. He had previously been president of Holy Cross High School in Queens, NY

Jenkins was hired in February, replacing Patrick Murphy, who stepped down in January 2020 to join the Arizona Coyotes in the NHL. Murphy has served as president since 2002. Jenkins officially took over from Mater Dei on July 1. Jenkins had been on sabbatical leave from the Order of the Holy Cross to take up the post of Mater Dei.

But less than six months later, he found himself embroiled in a controversy that raised questions about the culture within one of the country’s leading high school football programs and the largest mixed Catholic high school in the west of the Mississippi River.

Jenkins said on November 30 that Mater Dei would commission an investigation into the security practices of its sports programs by an independent company. Jenkins also announced that he is also creating a task force to examine “how athletics is engaged”.

The investigation will proceed as planned, a spokesperson for Mater Dei said.

“It’s clear that sports are an important part of any high school experience, but they aren’t Mater Dei’s only mission. Jenkins wrote in a letter to parents and students of Mater Dei at the time. “We have to ensure the balance.

A Sacramento law firm hired by Mater Dei met with officials this week to prepare for an investigation into allegations of misconduct and the culture within the school’s football and track programs. Discussions included agreement on a timetable for the investigation and the different phases of the investigation. The company will begin interviewing Mater Dei students on Thursday, according to a school official.

The tension between Jenkins and Rollinson and his supporters was evident in the midst of the post-match celebration following Mater Dei’s 44-7 victory over Serra in the CIF State Championship game last month. A smiling Jenkins approached Rollinson’s family to congratulate them but was turned away by Rollinson’s wife. Jenkins and Clare were then involved in a heated discussion on the pitch as Mater Dei players, coaches and fans watched.

“It looked like you and Clare were having a heated conversation,” Jenkins was asked as he left the stadium.

Jenkins replied, “We’ve had a lot of these these days.”

A November registration report explained how a current Mater Dei soccer player punched a teammate, 50 pounds lighter, three times in the face during an alleged hazing ritual called “Bodies” on February 4 while other Monarchs players shouted racial epithets at the smaller player, according to two videos of the altercation obtained by the Registry.

The Santa Ana Police Department has recommended that the most important player be prosecuted for assault and battery, according to a police report. Orange County District Attorney’s Office does not intend to file a complaint in the case. Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer said last week the altercation did not meet legal standards for “hazing” or criminal assault, but he is prepared to consider further evidence.

“If I had a hundred dollars for every time these kids played Bodies or Slappies, I would be a millionaire,” Rollinson told the injured player’s father the day after the altercation, according to court records.

Mater Dei officials initially refused to cooperate with investigators from the Santa Ana Police Department, according to police reports. Rollinson and Kevin Kiernan, the school’s athletic director, eventually agreed to be interviewed by a Santa Ana Police Department investigator with Mater Dei’s deputy director for student services, Miguel Gutierrez, present on April 21. , more than two months after the altercation and when the Santa Ana PD first requested information from the school, according to police reports.

Rollinson during the police interview denied the existence of hazing in the Mater Dei program. He added that the interview was the first time he had heard of the Bodies game.

The registry also reported that Chase Hall, a Mater Dei basketball player, allegedly assaulted and beaten by two Mater Dei football players as he left a rally in Irvine shortly after midnight on May 5, 2019, according to police reports.

Hall’s jaw was broken during the altercation and he will need to undergo further surgery.

“I’ll never forget what the surgeon said,” Mary Hall, Chase’s mother told The Register as she discussed the punch that broke her son’s jaw. “He said if it had been a quarter of an inch higher.

“He would be dead.

An Irvine Police Department investigator recommended that the two Mater Dei players be charged with aggravated assault and battery and that they, along with a classmate, who police say orchestrated the beating , be charged with criminal conspiracy. Both players were put to the test, according to Mary Hall.

The Hall family filed a lawsuit in Orange County Superior Court on May 5 against a county-wide linebacker for Mater Dei (player 1), a senior Monarch lineman who had received a scholarship offer to play in a Pac-12 school (player 2), and a classmate alleging assault, bodily harm, negligence, civil conspiracy, intentionally inflicting emotional distress, inflicting by neglect emotional distress and false imprisonment. The trial continues to take place in court.

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