NJ investigates allegation 6 overseas students lived with high school coach
PATERSON — The head boys basketball coach at Eastside High School has been suspended after six players from overseas were found to be living in his small condo.
NJ.com reported that five or six players on the Ghosts, including three from Puerto Rico and three from Nigeria, were seen leaving Juan Griles' condo in January and four of them listed it as their primary address. Two listed assistant coach Alberto Maldonado as their legal guardian.
The Paterson Ghosts team is undefeated this season.
District spokeswoman Terry Corallo told New Jersey 101.5 that Griles was suspended without pay as coach and with pay from his position as teacher coordinator. Maldonado, who is part-time, was suspended for a "situation" with the team that was not specified.
"The district takes this matter very seriously especially as it pertains to the well being of our students," Corallo said.
Former state Supreme Court justice John Wallace Jr. is being retained as Monitor for all district athletic programs, according to Corallo, who will investigate the matter, make appropriate recommendations pertaining to policy, procedures and personnel actions and to make sure all district athletic programs are in compliance with NJSIAA rules and regulations for the remainder of this year and for 2017-18 school year for all district athletic programs.
Corallo said the state Division of Child Protection and Permanency, which looks into child abuse allegations, is also investigating the matter.
NJSIAA executive director Steven Timko said the NJSIAA became aware of "eligibility issues" with student athletes in the district related to residency and asked them to confirm their well being.
“This appears to be a particularly complex situation, so we’ve now requested a full accounting to assess the eligibility of various student-athletes. In addition, we are reviewing the district’s internal controls and protocols for determining residency and eligibility. Given claims related to health and safety – which are always our top priority – it’s essential we wait for DCP&P to complete its investigation before we make any decisions," Timko said, warning against the urge for "immediate action."
Contact reporter Dan Alexander at Dan.Alexander@townsquaremedia.com.
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