Two women file $ 15 million against the California school district after sexual assault
Two women file $ 15M claims against school district after being ‘sexually assaulted by science teacher’
Two women have both filed a $ 15 million lawsuit against a California school district accused of sexual assault by a former teacher.
The women, whose names were withheld, say they have been sexually assaulted multiple times by Dan Witters, a science teacher at the Joaquin Moraga Intermediate School in 1996.
Witters was given administrative leave after the charges were raised, and he committed suicide two days later, despite never being charged with the crimes.
Scene of abuse: the Joaquin Moraga Intermediate School, where science teacher Dan Witters is said to have abused students in the 1990s
Both women now accuse the Moraga school district of receiving multiple complaints of inappropriate behavior from Witters, but chose not to do much or nothing to stop it.
Only recently did they find out about the school’s alleged behavior through a local news investigation, which led to their lawsuit.
Retired Moraga Intermediate School director Bill Billers, retired assistant director Paul Simonin and retired supervisor John Cooley are the workers of the district accused by the women of assisting in the abuse.
“District administrators, officials and workers chose to protect their own jobs and reputation rather than protect young girls from a predator,” Contra Costa Times claims.
Lawsuit: Kristen Cunnane filed similar claims against the Moraga School District this year, saying the school’s “ lax environment ” allowed the abuse
“After Witters committed suicide, Moraga School District campaigned to hide and disguise her knowledge of past complaints against Witters.”
The lawsuit is not the first to be brought against the school accusing them and the teacher of sexual abuse.
Kristen Cunnane, now 30, was the first to file a lawsuit for abuse by Witters.
Former swimming coach Cunnane said the school’s “lax environment” allowed the harmful environment.
Ms Cunnane’s claim was rejected in August because she filed for unspecified damages in September.
“We are not talking about a tap on the butt or a friction on the shoulder,” said the lawyer David Ring to the newspaper. “We are talking about extremely serious sexual abuse.
“Their response … ranged from shock to dismay to anger. They couldn’t believe it. Their mindset has always been that Witters did this to us … and tried to solve that problem.
“So when they discovered all the other complaints from the district, it was a huge setback because they realized it should never have happened to them because the man shouldn’t have been teaching at school.”