Even though football coach Harry Welch has been cleared by the Orange County District Attorney's office for his role in an incident at , the school isn't ready to reinstate him from the paid administrative leave he has been on since Jan. 20.
That was spelled out in an email to parents on Saturday from President Paul Carey and Principal Ray Dunne.
The extremely successful football coach who guided Santa Margarita to Southern Section Pac-5 and State Bowl Championships was involved in a Dec. 13 incident in which there was , according to police. The tip came in an anonymous e-mail; the student nor his family refused to file charges against the coach.
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Orange County Sheriff Deputies investigated, as has the school and the Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange. The OCSD turned the file over to the Orange County District Attorney's office last week, and it because it didn't think it had evidence beyond a reasonable doubt and could not get a jury conviction.
However, the diocese and school—in the wake of in which two of Welch's assistants remained on staff for months after they pleaded guilty to possession of marijuana—is taking an understandably cautious approach to .
This is the content of the letter from Carey and Dunne sent to parents on Saturday:
Dear Football Parents,
As you are aware Coach Harry Welch is currently on administrative leave while Santa Margarita Catholic High School Administration and Diocese Of Orange officials conduct a joint review of the matter. You may have read recent media blogs and elsewhere that the Orange County District Attorney's Office has declined to file criminal charges. This decision does not relieve the school and the diocese of their obligation to completely review the circumstances reported, and until such time, Coach Welch will remain on leave. Because of the laws of California which protect the privacy of employees, neither the school nor the diocese is at liberty to discuss the details or report any further on this matter at this time. We ask for your patience and cooperation while the school and the diocese complete their joint review. The safety of our students is, and will remain, our priority.
as coach at Santa Margarita. It was his third state bowl victory in six years with three different teams, including Canyon Country Canyon and St. Margaret's Episcopal. His teams have won six section titles in the last seven years, and he has won 28 of his last 29 playoff games.
Santa Margarita went 13-2 this season and, in Welch's two years heading the program, is 22-5. In the two years prior to his arrival, it was 6-14.