On April 23, 2021, the Riverside County Sheriffs Department received information about the allegations against Ryan Towner and began its investigation, which is currently ongoing. Towner faces six counts of sexual assault against a minor on the desert storm basketball team. According to the investigation, the alleged assaults have taken place between August 2017 and July 2018.
Towner was the Desert Storm youth travel basketball team director, a non-profit program here in the valley. Their season ended just before this year’s high school basketball season began in April. A person who is choosing to remain anonymous, tells NBC Palm Springs that the future of Desert Storm is unknown at this time, and no plans have been made to either continue or start another youth basketball program in its place.
Towner was also a Desert Sands Unified School District head coach for the Shadow Hills high school boys basketball team. Earlier this week, NBC Palm Springs learned that all Shadow Hills high school basketball coaches for both the boys and girls teams were fired. District officials issued a statement saying shadow hills is “looking to take the program in a different direction and are currently seeking new coaches.”
However, NBC Palm Springs’ source says that all coaching staff is allowed to re-apply for their old positions, and will be considered “with a clean slate” and be given a “fair opportunity”.
Despite that, several sources say the damage to their reputation is already done, and some are trying to move on. Greg Ramirez, who was the head coach of the Knights’ girls basketball team, has recently applied to Indio high, a rival school, looking to fill their open coach position for girls basketball.
It’s not clear why girls’ head coach Greg Ramirez was fired. No allegations have been made against any of the former Shadow Hills or desert storm assistant coaches. Towner was also not with the boy’s basketball team during the last ten games of the season due to personal reasons.
It is worth noting that typically when a head coach of a program is hired, they get to choose or request certain coaches to bring in and teach the lower levels or become assistants. When Towner was fired, school officials decided to wipe the slate clean and start over.
After his arrest, Towner was taken to the John Benoit Detention Center in Indio. On Friday, June 11, 2021, Towner posted $55,000 bail and has been released. His court date for arraignment has been moved from mid-June to October of 2021.