Posted: Jul 13, 2012 7:05 PM by Keli Moore
Updated: Jul 15, 2012 3:26 PM
Two high school officials in the Santa Maria area have been accused of not reporting allegations of sexual abuse to a student.
St. Joseph High School former Dean of Students John Walker and Principal Joseph Myers have been charged with a misdemeanor for not contacting authorities about sexual abuse incidents.
The Santa Barbara County District Attorney's office announced these charges Thursday.
According to the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, "Mr. Myers is on administrative leave pending the resolution of this matter, and Mr. Walker has not been employed by the school since June."
Students and parents spoke out Friday.
"Is it true, or is it not true?" said Ulysses Ferer, a senior at SJHS. "This is crazy."
According to the District Attorney's Office, a 16-year-old student and her parents told both St. Joseph educators about her being sexually abused by two teenage male students back in September of 2011. The Santa Barbara County District Attorney said the administrators, who are by law "mandated reporters," did not report the suspected sexual assault.
"The requirement for mandatory reports is for them to immediately report it to law enforcement," explained Mag Nicla, Deputy D.A. for Santa Barbara County.
He said, "they must do this with in 36 hours."
The allegations against these long-time educators has left the community with unanswered questions.
"Now we are just waiting to see what happens," said Nancy Gastelum, Director of Marketing, SJHS.
But school must go on.
"It's business as usual. We are doing things as we normally do and summer school is in session," said Gastelum.
SJHS parents and students said they want to see this play out in court.
"I think it will be weird but everyone supports each other here. The teachers are looking out for the students best interest," said Ferer.
Walker and Myers could not be reached for comments. The DA's office says both men will appear in court on July 30th.
No arrests have been made. If convicted, Myers and Walker could a face a maximum of six months in jail, and or a $1000 fine, Nicla explained.
The D.A.'s office said charges have been filed against the two juvenile suspects in the sexual assaults.
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