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Judge: JCPS must turn over Gilpin interviews

LOUISVILLE, KY -- Jefferson County Public Schools must give the commonwealth attorney's office its interviews with players, coaches and other witnesses that are part of its investigation into football player Max Gilpin's death last fall, a judge ruled Friday, reports The Louisville Courier-Journal in its Saturday edition.

Circuit Judge Susan Schultz Gibson ordered district officials to turn over the interviews that prosecutors had subpoenaed for its criminal case against Jason Stinson, Max's former head football coach at Pleasure Ridge Park High School.

However, the judge ruled that those interviews must be sealed from the public "until further order of the court." And she instructed the school board to notify the court "when the investigation is complete."

Stinson is scheduled to stand trial Aug. 31 on a charge of reckless homicide in Max's death — the result of heat stroke the 15-year-old suffered at an Aug. 20 football practice.

Prosecutors issued a subpoena June 3 for statements made by players, coaches and other witnesses to JCPS investigators, saying they needed the statements to compare with their interviews.

Schultz Gibson ruled that while prosecutors may have those statements, the rest of the district's findings don't have to be released until district officials close their investigation.

The judge said that the "release of the (school board) investigation to the public while the investigation is ongoing could potentially result in a chilling effect, which would call into question the truthfulness and accuracy of any subsequent statements and contribute to the very problem of conflicting testimony."

She noted the school system has "publicly stated" that the investigation will be released, meaning "the public will ultimately have access to the same materials requested now by the commonwealth."

Stinson, who has pleaded not guilty, has been released from teaching duties pending the outcome of his trial. Prosecutors allege that Stinson repeatedly denied players water, despite receiving extensive training in the dangers of heat-related illnesses, and forced them to run extra wind sprints as punishment for failing to practice hard, reports The Louisville Courier-Journal.

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