Presentation High School in San Jose, California announced that they hired an investigative law firm this week to launch an external investigation into dozens of allegations of potential sexual misconduct by staff and faculty, dating back to the 1980’s. The all-girl preparatory school operates within the Roman Catholic Diocese of San Jose and is owned and operated by Sisters of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, a religious institute of Roman Catholic women founded over 200 years ago.
Allegations of Sexual Misconduct at San Jose Catholic Prep School
The allegations of abuse were first brought to public attention by former student, Kathryn Leehane in an op-ed she penned for the Washington Post in 2017. Leehane alleges that during her time as a student at Presentation in the early 1990’s she was groped and shown a pornographic photo by her Spanish teacher but didn’t report the incident to school administrators out of fear. Years later, one of Leehane’s classmates confided in her that she had been sexually assaulted by the same teacher at the school. Leehane attempted to alert the school principle to the behavior of the abusive teacher her and her classmate had been the victims of, but no action was taken to remove the abuser. Due to the statute of limitations expiring by the time Leehane contacted legal authorities about her and her classmate’s experience, no charges were ever filed. The teacher alleged to have abused Leehane and her classmates died of cancer shortly before she went public with her experience.
Changing CA State Laws May Give Survivors A Chance for Justice
As Presentation H.S. deals with allegations of sexual abuse within their walls, the state of California is on the precipice of revolutionizing the statutes of limitations for cases of child sex abuse within its borders. California Assembly Bill 218 currently sits on the desk of Governor Newsom awaiting his signing of the bill into law. Should the law be implemented, survivors of sexual abuse who never had an opportunity to seek justice against their abusers will be granted a three-year window to file charges for abuse previously disallowed under current law.
If you or a loved one has been a victim of abuse recently or in decades past, it is essential you speak with an experienced attorney who understands the ever-changing laws regarding child sex abuse. Paul Mones passionately dedicated to helping survivors hold the institutions and individuals responsible for child sex abuse accountable.