The father of a Rocklin High School football player accused by a Rocklin softball player of sharing a video and photos of a consensual sex act addressed the Rocklin Unified School District board on Wednesday night, passionately defending his son’s character.
Marty Munn said his son has been harassed and that “both are at fault for sending pictures out.”
Munn, wearing a blue T-shirt and introducing himself to the board as “the father of the boy in question,” said he was there to rebut the allegations publicly. His appearance in the packed room came two weeks after Ava Messina detailed to the board, while in a softball uniform after a game, how a fellow sophomore student-athlete recorded and shared their intimate encounter without her consent.
The consensual sex act between the teenagers occurred in November. Messina told the board on May 3 that she had been harassed and bullied by Rocklin football players in retaliation.
Her house in January was toilet-papered by Rocklin football players who admitted to doing it and then cleaned up the mess. The Messina family voiced their concerns about a lack of action by Rocklin High and the district to discipline those who have engaged in harassment or bullying.
No members of the Messina family attended Wednesday’s board meeting, and the family declined to comment.
Several others spoke in support of other students who said they have been bullied by student peers at Rocklin and other schools in the Placer County district. Several members of the Rocklin community also spoke to the board on behalf of Munn’s son.
Embroiled in controversy
Last week, students, parents and members of the Rocklin High community met down the street from campus to protest what they said is an out-of-control bullying problem. The signs were mostly in support of any victims of bullying, but Munn and others told the board Wednesday night that signs of “Pedophile” crossed the line.
Munn began his three-minute statement to the board with: “First of all, let me ask: is it OK to jump to conclusions? Is it OK to publicly shame this boy and his family without all the facts? What happened to being innocent until proven guilty? I do not condone what they both did. They both made a poor decision.
“I’ll tell you what I know to be true: She asked (my son) to grab his phone during the act, take a picture. She sent the picture out in a group chat 20 minutes after he left her house. She’s smiling in the picture and looked straight into the camera.”
Munn also said: “After the girl made these outrageous accusations, her house was TP’ed. Did you know that (my son) wasn’t even there and didn’t know about it until two days after it happened? He was out of town.”
Munn also told the board that he spoke to the father of Ava Messina, Oakmont High varsity head football coach Jake Messina “after the initial accusations.” Munn said the fathers agreed that their kids were “at fault” for sending out photos. Munn said he and Jake Messina agreed that they didn’t want this incident to “destroy our kids’ future.”
Munn said the avalanche of the negative social media response has been “a character assassination” of the Rocklin football program and his son, a 6-foot-2, 200-pound national recruit quarterback prospect with a 3.7 GPA.
Rocklin coaches and administrators have told The Bee that they would not speak on the record, a mandate from the district as district and local law enforcement investigations are ongoing.
Munn said the saga has been “mishandled by the public and the social media mob.”
“My son has never witnessed any (Rocklin) players harass her,” Marty Munn told the board, reading from his notes. “My son is being harassed by students and adults. He’s been called a sexual predator, pedophile, rapist. He’s been bullied online by armchair quarterbacks over false accusations. All of this is completely inappropriate. He’s a child. I’ve been praying for months for both parties to get through this time without irreparable damage.”
Munn lawyer talks to The Bee
In an interview Thursday with The Bee, Munn said his son made a mistake.
“There are a lot of life lessons in this story,” he said. “Many in the community convicted my son without hearing a word...Our family has been struggling with the stress of all of this.”
He said his son is known as “a great kid with great character.” “He is an amazing human being that made a mistake...” he said. “At some point, we will have to clean up all the social media things said about him with his name. It was so hard to wait this long to tell our truths. Our family has been struggling with the stress of all this.”
Michael Wise, of the Sacramento law firm Wise Law Group, told The Bee on Thursday that Munn’s son has not bullied Messina and that “the bullying of any kind is unacceptable. Kids should be kids and live happy lives.”
Wise added: ”(He) feels terrible that (Messina) is suffering emotionally. I know he feels bad for her. He went over to her house (in November) because she asked him to and he took the photo of what they were doing because she asked him to. I think everyone wishes this would go away because they’re kids.”
Wise added: “The (Munn) family is devastated and clearly upset that their son has been portrayed this way.”