California Lawsuit: Former Colton High School football players allege coach’s daughter, who was team trainer, sexually abused them

COLTON, California– Six former California high school athletes have accused their former football coach of sexually abusing them as students more than two decades ago.

Former Colton High School football players have filed a lawsuit against Tiffany Strauss-Gordon and the Colton Joint Unified School District in San Bernardino County.

Strauss-Gordon is the daughter of legendary high school football coach Harold Strauss and was the team’s athletic coach during her father’s tenure.

“It was an open secret. The Colton high school students and their staff had a name for their sexual abuse of these children,” said attorney Mike Reck of Jeff Anderson and Associates.

Reck and Jemma Dunn with Greenberg Gross represent the six former students.

The lawsuit states, “Gordon’s sexual assaults occurred throughout the Colton High School campus, including the locker room, exercise room, bathrooms, weight room and football trailer.”

The six players were between 14 and 17 years old at the time.

“If the roles were reversed, the story would be very different. No one would question whether this was an attack. There would be people in jail,” Dunn said. “I mean there would be a riot.”

During an encounter, the lawsuit states, “Under the pretense of offering medical treatment and physical therapy, Gordon took advantage of John Doe 7042 during treatments and sexually assaulted him…”

Lawyers for the players, all identified as John Does, say the behavior was permissible and was even described as “Tiffany’s special treatment”.

“An abuser, male or female, should not be able to use their position of power and access to these children to sexually abuse them,” Reck said.

Strauss-Gordon’s attorney disputes the claims and asks why the alleged victims are only coming forward now, more than 20 years later, adding that his client has not been criminally charged.

“No criminal charges have been filed to date, and hopefully that means prosecutors don’t think they have sufficient evidence to convict her of a crime,” said Gordon’s attorney, Paul Wallin.

The Colton Joint Unified School District released a statement to our sister broadcaster KABC-TV, which reads in part: “The District has made and will continue to make itself fully available to the Colton Police Department. The District is committed to ensuring that law enforcement agencies have access to all facts and information to conduct their investigations.”

Strauss-Gordon remains employed by the district as the athletic director of Grand Terrace High School. She was placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation, which the county was required by law to do by law.

Coach Strauss remained a coach at the high school until 2019, the year of his death.

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