Settlement reached in "Butt Drag" case

FRESNO, Calif.

We've learned the deal will require the defendant to apologize to the accuser and write an essay about the experience. A day after the defendant and his teammate got a lesson on tolerance and bullying, a group Fresno teens got the same hard hitting message.

25 Fresno High students listened Friday to a message brought to them by the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department. The message is the same one given a day earlier to an expelled 17-year-old Buchanan High School senior and his accusing teammate. Preston Hill is accused of sexually assaulting a freshman by taking a common move called the butt drag, too far.

The program is a straight forward, and at times intense seminar called "Share", it stands for stop the hate and respect everyone.

Judge David Gottlieb is handling the butt drag criminal case. He's issued a gag order and won't talk about the proceedings. But he brought the Share Program to Fresno for two days after he heard about its effectiveness at a conference in southern California.

Gottlieb said, "That really is the powerful part about it. Getting the kids to think about hate and intolerance. It affects their lives and what they can do as leaders in the community to change it."

Several community leaders and Fresno Unified educators watched the video and say its graphic, but real and impactful.

Ed Gonzalez said, "We're aware of this behavior, of course law enforcement is aware of it. But, it moves you. And when you leave, you leave a little bit different."

Role playing included in the program also allows students to practice the lessons they have learned.

Attorney Chuck Magill represented Hill on the expulsion case. He thinks the program and punishment is a novel approach by the judge. "I think this is something that he recognized that needed to be resolved not with the legal system but with some type of mediation."

Judge Gottlieb is hoping to bring a program like Share to Fresno permanently. It would cost about $150 thousand initially.

As for Preston Hill, his expulsion attorney says they are appealing the decision, but Hill wants to get away from all the attention and is planning to finish high school in another area in California.

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