Abuse and Sexual Assault
Schools are mandated reporters of abuse, meaning they are legally required to file a report with law enforcement and/or the state’s Child Protective Services agency if they suspect or hear of physical or sexual abuse against one of their students. Any failure to do so is not only considered endangerment of the child or children in question, it is also a crime. Presentation High School, a prestigious Catholic girls’ school in San Jose, California, is currently facing such allegations.
Robert Allard, an attorney with Cerri, Boskovich & Allard has uncovered reports of sexual abuse from 17 different victims. Occurring over the span of three decades, the allegations were reported to the school by teachers, parents, and the victims themselves, but the school allegedly never reported the complaints of sexual abuse.
Mandated reporters are also barred from conducting their own investigations. In 2012, Lyn Vijayendran, principal at O.B. Whaley Elementary in San Jose at the time, was convicted of a crime after failing to report a student’s explicit account of a possible sexual act that a teacher may have taken while alone with the student in a classroom. She was also found guilty of trying to conduct her own interview, which ultimately led to the destruction of what may have been concrete evidence in the sex abuse case. Presentation is being accused of similar acts – not just the failure to report, but also possibly trying to conduct their own investigations.
Mary Jane Perryman, who taught at the school from 1994 to 2015, says, at the very least, they failed to report accusations of sexual misconduct. She claims to have heard of at least three allegations against employees at the school and at least one sexual relationship between a teacher and one of the students. She shared her concerns in a statement on Tuesday, during a news conference that included several of the victims and their supporters.
“The Presentation administration has not followed mandated reporting laws,” Perryman wrote in a statement that was presented on Tuesday, during a news conference with some of the alleged victims. She added that the school generally responded “by placing a higher priority on the school’s reputation.”
Presentation denies the allegations and continues to feign innocence.
“It is an egregious falsehood to state that PHS cares more about its reputation than the safety of its students,” the board of directors wrote in a letter to Presentation alumnae last week.
At this time, attorney Robert Allard is only seeking an audience with the board of directions. The goal is to protect current and future students from further acts of abuse.Are You a Victim of Sexual Abuse? Contact our Legal Team.
If you or someone you love has been the victim of sexual abuse, either at a school or other establishment, you could be owed compensation. Sadly, obtaining a settlement can be a highly complex process. Get the assistance you deserve from a firm that is skilled in handling such sensitive cases. Contact Cerri, Boskovich & Allard and schedule your free consultation with one of our attorneys to get started. Call (408) 289-1417 today.