Sex Offender-Turned-JC Footballer Kills Himself

Last year, we brought you the tale of Darryl Stephens, the Pasadena City College football player who had been kicked off the team once it was discovered that he was a convicted sex offender and had been practicing and playing with the team while wearing a court-mandated GPS device on his ankle. According to the PCC COURIER, things have taken an even more tragic turn: Stephens was found dead on Monday of an apparently self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.

Kenny Lawler Darryl Stephens sex offender inset

Being kicked off the team last year apparently freed Stephens from any responsibility he might have felt to keep himself out of trouble. The PASADENA STAR-NEWS says that he was wanted in a May 5 shooting in San Bernardino that left one man dead. Police suspect that Stephens shot and killed Darron Henderson after Henderson tried to break up a fight “between two parties.”

When news of Stephens’ criminal past first came to light in September 2008, Pasadena City College head football coach Kenny Lawler was placed on paid administrative leave while the school investigated the situation. It’s now almost eight months later, and Lawler is still apparently on the same paid leave. That’s more than $8,000 a month the school has been paying to Lawler while they decide what to do with him (plus pay for additional teaching), plus the more than $6,500 a month they’ve been paying “acting” head coach James Kuk to do his job.

This probably explains why there’s a bond measure during practically every election in California asking taxpayers to chip in more money for community colleges. Of course, the situation is muddled by the fact that technically, there was nothing wrong about Stephens playing at Pasadena City College - school rules only prohibit players who were convicted of crimes committed while at Pasadena City College from playing athletics, and, in fact, Stephens had played for Mount San Antonio College before transferring.

So the school is pretty clearly trying to stall and hope that Lawler goes away - which he clearly isn’t. Stephens’ suicide is a horrific footnote to an unfortunate story. If the trustees at Pasadena City College have any sense, they’ll reach an agreement with Lawler for his dismissal and try to put everything behind them.