Two Women File $15 Million Claim Against California School District Over Sexual Abuse
Two women file $15 MILLION claims against school district after ‘being sexually assaulted by science teacher’
Two women have each filed a $15 million lawsuit against a California school district, accusing them of admitting sexual abuse by a former teacher.
The women, whose names were not given, say they were sexually assaulted multiple times in 1996 by Dan Witters, a physics teacher at Joaquin Moraga Intermediate School.
Witters was given administrative leave after the allegations were made, 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 allegedly abused students in the 1990s
Both women now accuse the Moraga School District of having received multiple complaints of inappropriate behavior from Witters, but chose to do little or nothing to stop it.
It was only recently that they learned about the school’s alleged behavior through a local news inquiry, which led to their lawsuit.
Retired Moraga Intermediate School principal Bill Walters, retired deputy principal Paul Simonin and retired superintendent John Cooley are the district employees accused by the women of aiding the abuse.
“District officials, officials and workers chose to protect their own jobs and reputations 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, (the) Moraga School District undertook a campaign to conceal and obscure its 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 sue for abuse by Witters.
Former swim coach Cunnane said “a lax environment” provided by the school allowed the damaging environment.
Ms Cunnane’s claim was dismissed in August, while her lawsuit for unspecified damages was filed in September.
“We’re not talking about a pat on the back or a pat on the back,” women’s attorney David Ring told the newspaper. ‘We are talking about very serious sexual abuse.
“Their reaction… ranged from shock to horror to anger. They couldn’t believe it. Their mindset was always that Witters was doing this to us… and trying to solve that problem.
“So when they heard about all the other complaints that the district was receiving, it was a huge blow to them because they realized it should never have happened to them because the man shouldn’t have taught at the school.”