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Dillon’s fate in hands of panel

With his job on the line, San Benito High School Athletic
Director Marty Dillon is waiting for a ruling that could determine
the future of his career.
With his job on the line, San Benito High School Athletic Director Marty Dillon is waiting for a ruling that could determine the future of his career.

Dillon and the San Benito High School District will both have to wait up to a month to hear from a panel of administrative hearing officers who will rule on whether the district can fire him.

“I think things went really well,” said Dillon’s defense attorney, Joseph A. Cisneros of Monterey. “I believe he got a fair hearing and we hope the panel will issue a decision in about a month.”

Nearly three weeks of testimony regarding allegations against Dillon of misconduct with a student ended Thursday as attorneys for both sides filed written closing arguments with the panel of three hearing officers.

The panel has up to a month to render its decision.

Cisneros said Dillon also seemed happy with the proceedings.

“He’s very pleased on how things went,” Cisneros said. “All of the assistant coaches testified on his behalf.”

Former SBHS Principal Tim Shellito also reportedly testified on Dillon’s behalf, as did several members of the school’s softball team.

The dispute between the school district and Dillon, who is accused of touching a female student in an inappropriate manner, started last summer when he was placed on paid administrative leave from the high school after the student reportedly came forward with the alleged incident.

Dillon is alleged to have approached the student from behind and grabbed her breasts in an attempt to lighten the mood among several female student-athletes at a gathering following a non-school-related athletic event in Stockton about a year ago.

Dillon’s attorney’s denied that the incident happened and prosecutors with the San Joaquin County District Attorney’s office opted not to file criminal charges against Dillon, citing a lack of evidence.

The school district was not required to abide by the San Joaquin County decision and chose to conduct its own investigation.

San Benito High School officials have declined to comment on the case, citing the district’s privacy policies.

“We’re very concerned about the privacy rights of our students and everyone concerned,” San Benito High School District Superintendent Dick Lowry said.

Cisneros said since the alleged incident in Stockton has not proven to be the “smoking gun” that the district thought it might be, attorneys for the district have been using weak arguments and unproved complaints from a couple of parents to try to justify the attempted dismissal of Dillon.

He said some of those accusations include unfounded claims that Dillon showed favoritism toward his daughter, whom he coached on the softball team before she graduated two years ago, and that he artificially inflated her batting statistics to increase her chances of making the all-Monterey Bay League team.

Another accusation claimed that Dillon yelled at his players when they made mistakes on the field, Cisneros said.