H-SANTA MARIA

Oct 3, 2012 8:49 PM by Connie Tran, KSBY News

St. Joseph administrators Myers and Walker were mandated reporters

The community in and around Santa Maria was still reacting on Wednesday to the guilty verdict against the principal and former dean of St. Joseph High School.

Joseph Myers and John Walker were convicted on Tuesday of failing to report an alleged sexual assault case involving a student. As educators, by law, both men were mandated reporters.

Ann McCarty, the associate director for the North County Rape Crisis and Child Protection Center said on Wednesday, "we have to look at mandated reporting as being a voice for children."

She said there is not gray area when it comes to reporting child abuse. It's always black and white.

McCarty said Myers and Walker had a cardinal responsibility as administrators at St. Joseph.

"Whenever a mandated reporter has a reasonable suspicion that something's not right, we kinda call it the 'uh-oh' feeling. If they're told about an incident that has occurred, whether at home or at the park, when they are provided that information, they are mandated by law to report that," she said.

After court on Tuesday, Principal Myers explained his decision to not report.

"The fact of the matter is that, we were put in a very difficult position, and we tried to do what was morally right. We tried to help the young lady," said Myers.

But, McCarty said, as she does in all her mandated reporting training sessions, that the law says to report no matter what.

She said, "I understand that when a parent or a guardian asks that question or asks that privacy, sort to speak, of a school official, the school official has to state, 'you know, I understand you don't want me to tell anyone, but I have to by law'."

McCarty said speaking up for a child can never be loud enough.

Myers and Walker are scheduled to be sentenced on October 30.

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