Buchanan High wrestler expelled in "Butt Drag" case

FRESNO, Calif.

The board voted unanimously to expel Hill from school. His attorney tells Action News they plan on filing an appeal with the Fresno County Board of Education after this latest defeat.

17-year-old Preston Hill looked calm and collected during his expulsion hearing Wednesday night. But for the second time in as many weeks the Buchanan senior and his family left Clovis Unified headquarters before a verdict came down.

"They realized they didn't get a fair hearing at the expulsion hearing in front of administrators that are worried about covering Clovis Unified's *bleep*. And they realize they weren't going to get a fair hearing from the school board either." said Hill's attorney Charles Magill.

The alleged victim's father however believes both sides were given a fair shake.

The board's decision to remove Preston Hill from school leaves Ross Rice and his son with a strong sense of vindication.

"I think it's a positive. It's going to make it easier for not just my son but everybody to go on with their school year and feel a little safer." said Rice.

Preston Hill is accused of performing a wrestling move called "the butt drag" inappropriately during practice last summer.

A video on YouTube shows a version of the move. It's when one wrestler grabs his opponent between the buttocks to turn him.

Board members spent 30 minutes listening to testimony in a closed session and took another 30 minutes to deliberate before concluding Hill bullied and sexually assaulted the victim.

Charles Magill is Hill's attorney and expects his client will be the one vindicated in a court of law. "I think it's clear that once this gets scene by the light of day. IE: in a real courtroom with real judges and real cross examination the truth will come out. The truth will be that Preston's been subjected to false complaints from the beginning."

Whether that criminal case will ever make it to a court room has yet to be seen. Action News has learned prosecutors have offered a second plea deal to Hill. But his attorney indicated the family would likely reject that offer.

ABC30 legal analyst Tony Capozzi thinks any plea would hurt the families' chances of winning a potential lawsuit. "If there's something worked out on the criminal end it would seriously hamper the civil suit that the young man would have against the school district."

Magill's appeal to the Fresno County Board of Education could take months and even if he wins Hill will likely miss his final semester at Buchanan.

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