By Alexander Tuerk
ROCKVILLE – Patrick Cilento will return to coach the varsity football team for the Bullis School after his second-degree assault charges were dismissed on July 19 after the Montgomery County State’s Attorney’s Office determined that there was not enough evidence to pursue the case.
Cilento, 41, was placed on administrative leave after he was arrested on June 2 on charges of second-degree assault following a domestic violence incident with his wife, Jacqueline Bitanga-Cilento.
“There was not enough evidence to prove beyond a reasonable doubt in court,” Ramon Korionoff, public affairs director for the Montgomery County State’s Attorney’s Office, said in a statement. Daniela Chavez was the assistant state’s attorney assigned to Cilento’s case.
According to county law, Cilento, 41, faced a maximum of 10 years in jail and a fine of $2,500.
Cilento was accompanied by his attorney, Rene Sandler, at the Montgomery County District Court, appearing before Associate Judge Carlos Acosta.
“Mr. Cilento looks forward to returning to the field,” Sandler said following his client’s court appearance. “He plans to return to the football field immediately to coach his team, where he is a leader and well-regarded coach.”
Following the decision, Bullis officials said that they “wanted to talk to the community” before making a decision on bringing back Cilento as coach. Then, on July 22, Bullis’ Director of Communications, Beth Crowley announced in a statement Cilento’s return to the school as a coach and academic advisor effective immediately.
“We believe in his abilities and the leadership he brings to our student-athletes,” the statement said. “We look forward to his return and his continued contributions to the Bullis community.”
Prior to the school’s decision, Cilento wrote a message on his Twitter account on July 20, expressing his gratitude for the “hundreds of texts, emails, and phone calls over the last couple of weeks.”
“The support has been unbelievable,” Cilento said. “So good to connect with some people I have not talked to in 20 years.”
Cilento and his wife lived in Potomac at the time of the arrest, along with their three children. According to the charging documents, Cilento’s wife was knocked down concrete stairs and had soreness on her rib cage, a scrape on her right elbow and a bruise on her left knee.
She filed a complaint on June 3 to the Montgomery County District Court. After a warrant was issued by Judge Rand Lewis Gelber, Cilento voluntarily met with police, was charged and released on bail, with a temporary restraining order effective until June 11.
Court documents describe other altercations between Cilento and his family. The petition for a protective order said that Cilento is accused of several angry outbursts daily toward his wife and throwing of his wife’s belongings out of the house last winter in front of their children. The documents also detail “roughhousing” behavior toward his six-year-old son; on May 31, Cilento allegedly kicked his son with a medical boot on in front of his other children.
Cilento is a Montgomery County native, where he played quarterback at Sherwood High School, leading them to a state championship in 1995. He was hired at Bullis in 2010 as the head varsity football coach and an academic advisor, and in 2015 became the school’s baseball coach.
As Bullis’ football coach, he led the Bulldogs to four Interstate Athletic Conference Championships (IAC) and finished with a 7-3 record last season. Dwayne Haskins, Jr., a Bullis 2016 graduate and a former player of Cilento, was recently drafted to play for the Washington Redskins, bringing extra attention to the program. During his three years with Cilento, Haskins scored 54 touchdowns and won three championships.