Garden City Community College attorney Randy Grisell on Wednesday confirmed that the college conducted three separate investigations — spanning from March 2015 to March 2018 — surrounding the GCCC cheerleading program and its former coach Brice Knapp, who resigned suddenly on March 29, just days before the college competed in a national cheerleading event.
The comments from Grisell came the morning after three people made allegations against Knapp during the public comment portion of Tuesday night’s GCCC Board of Trustees meeting.
Toni Douglass, the wife of former Broncbuster Athletic Association president Mark Douglass; Aaron Kucharik, a GCCC Endowment Association member; and Eleanor Everett, the mother of former GCCC cheerleader Liz Everett, all said they had seen letters written by former GCCC cheerleaders citing concerns they had with Knapp. Those concerns included allegations of sexual harassment, according to Douglass.
Knapp has not returned multiple phone and text messages seeking comment since his March 29 resignation.
One of the letters referenced in the meeting, and previously obtained by The Telegram, claims that “incidents” regarding Knapp were “previously documented with the Human Resource office in 2015.”
Grisell said an investigation was conducted in March 2015, but he didn't elaborate on what circumstances prompted the investigation.
Grisell said he had not seen any written complaint from that time period.
“Usually, a complaint of sexual harassment requires a written complaint, but we would investigate even if there was a verbal complaint,” Grisell said of the March 2015 investigation. “There was an investigation, so obviously somebody must have had a concern. There were interviews conducted by administrative staff (regarding) concerns.”
Grisell said he would not disclose the outcome of the investigation or any potential discipline, “if any was imposed.”
A letter — which was referenced by Kucharik in Tuesday’s meeting and also was previously obtained by The Telegram — states that a photo of five GCCC cheerleaders baring their butts in a window was taken by Knapp in March 2015. The letter states that the photo, a copy of which also was previously obtained by The Telegram, was taken at a Wichita hotel the team stayed at on its way to the Region VI championships at Allen County Community College.
Grisell said that the college learned of the photo in June 2017, when a complaint was submitted to the college.
Two cheerleaders who say they are in the photo — Yanira Ruiz and Myranda Ortiz — say Knapp took the photo.
“There was a complaint or concern submitted to the college in it looks like June (2017), and upon receiving the concern, the college investigated the matter, and it was addressed with the employee,” Grisell said.
A third investigation was conducted after the college received a letter “from the parent of a former GCCC student and cheerleader” in February 2018, Grisell said. He said GCCC Human Resources was “primarily responsible for the investigation, with assistance from college counsel.”
GCCC also brought in Beverly G. Temaat, the vice president of student affairs and risk management at Dodge City Community College to “independently investigate the allegations made in the parent letter, and two subsequent letters from students,” Grisell said.
When reached previously by telephone on April 5, Temaat declined to comment and referred questions back to GCCC.
After “several days” of interviews, the college determined that Knapp would not be allowed to travel to the National Cheer Association championship in Daytona Beach, Fla., April 3 to 7, Grisell said.
“At that point in time, no decision had been made concerning Mr. Knapp’s future employment with the college,” Grisell said.
Knapp’s resignation was announced by the college on March 29, and then at the next Board of Trustees meeting, which was Tuesday, Toni Douglass, Kucharik and Eleanor Everett voiced their concerns.
None of the three speakers mentioned Knapp by name due to Trustee bylaws banning discussion of GCCC personnel in the public comment portion of the meeting, but all three confirmed to The Telegram they were referencing Knapp, who coached at GCCC from April 2014 to March 29.
After the meeting, Trustees Steve Martinez, Terri Worf, Blake Wasinger and Jeff Crist declined to comment to The Telegram regarding the allegations against Knapp.
GCCC Athletic Director John Green has not returned calls seeking comment, and college President Herb Swender has declined to comment on Knapp's resignation.
Trustee Leonard Hitz has said he had knowledge of complaints regarding Knapp as early as January, and had seen several letters detailing allegations against Knapp.
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