St. Margaret's has fired an assistant football coach who was last year with after learning he was arrested again in August and faces additional felony charges.
In a statement issued Friday, officials said they were aware of Charles Spann's December 2010 arrest, and after discussing the matter with him, chose to keep him on.
However, upon learning earlier this month of his second arrest, they terminated him Dec. 5 and banned him from contacting students or participating in end-of-season team activities.
On Aug. 22, Orange County Sheriff’s Department deputies discovered Spann parked in a car in San Juan Capistrano with 2 grams of marijuana and five Vicodin pills, said Farrah Emami, spokeswoman for the Orange County District Attorney’s office.
In addition to the drugs, Spann allegedly had a fake driver’s license with his photo but someone else’s name, Emami said. He was charged with felony forgery of public or corporate seals. The drug charge from the same day’s arrest is also a felony.
That case is separate from the guilty plea Spann made in September as part of a plea bargain to avoid going to trial for two other felony counts, one for cultivation of marijuana and one for possession for sale of marijuana.
Last December, Spann lived with Sean Patrick Coen and Robert Raymond Hendricks, both coaches at Santa Margarita, in a San Juan Capistrano residence where sheriff's deputies discovered an extensive marijuana growing system in the garage.
The raid netted three mature plants, 229 immature plants, 32 pot clones, five bags of dried marijuana totaling more than a pound, a "pay-owe" ledger listing medical marijuana dispensaries, and a lighting and watering system.
Spann, also known as Chachi, was hired in 2010 as an offensive and defensive line coach at St. Margaret's.
In an interview Thursday with the OC Register, Spann said St. Margaret’s had not fired him. He also said he had a prescription for medicinal marijuana but declined to describe the medical condition that requires it.
On Oct. 26, Spann pleaded not-guilty to the August arrest charges. He has a pretrial hearing set for Thursday in the in Newport Beach.
Here is the complete statement from St. Margaret's:
St. Margaret's pursues a rigorous and thorough employment process. All potential employees including all part-time, temporary coaches, etc. are screened through reference checks, the California Department of Justice, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Mr. Charles Spann was first offered a position at St. Margaret’s as a part-time, temporary, assistant football coach on March 11, 2010 with the understanding that he had to be cleared with the Department of Justice. We received DOJ clearance on March 12, 2010 and Mr. Spann was extended a temporary contract from May 17 to December 11, 2010. Based on his performance as a coach, Mr. Spann was then rehired as a part-time, temporary, assistant football coach in the spring of 2011. Importantly, at that time we had not received any notice of concern from the DOJ or the FBI.
On September 26, 2011, we received notice from the California Department of Justice that Mr. Spann had been arrested on December 14, 2010 and that he eventually pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor count of possession of marijuana. We immediately confronted Mr. Spann who was open in his explanation of his involvement. After careful thought and consideration, we decided to allow Mr. Spann to continue in our employ with the clear understanding that any future transgression on his part would result in his immediate dismissal.
On Friday, December 2, 2011 we were informed by the Orange County District Attorney’s Office that Mr. Spann had been arrested on additional drug related charges. Mr. Spann was immediately confronted and on Monday, December 5 he was informed that his employment with the school was terminated effective immediately, that he was not to participate in any end-of-season football team activities, that he was not to contact any of our football players, and that he would not be rehired for the 2012 football season.