SAN JOSE (KRON) — A 1991 Presentation High School graduate says she was sexually abused by a teacher, who is now dead, and more accusers have come forward.
Since Kathryn Leehane and a classmate went public with their stories, 18 other former students have also come forward, implicating at least eight teachers and staff members from the Catholic high school.
“My incident was in the 1990s, but we have incidents going right up to 2017,” Leehane said.
“I was not surprised by the additional victims by my abuser, but to find out that there are additional abusers and violations of the law has been shocking and horrifying,” Leehane added.
Last fall, Leehane went public with her story about how she was sexually abused by a teacher, who is now deceased, and how the administration failed to fully investigate.
“The teacher had me in his office, and he put his arm around me…and, and was intimate with me and kissed my hand and later showed me a picture of a naked woman,” Leehane said.
Some 5,000 former students and supporters have signed an online petition calling for an independent investigation.
Leehane believes the abuse continues even now and shared a post from another former student.
“I listened to the victims’ stories and didn’t have to hear the teacher’s name to know who they were talking about, many of these students were from my class,” Leehane said. “It was well known that these students were being groomed for sexual exploitation. I was normalized in hush, hush whispers because we knew the school wouldn’t do anything about it.”
Leehane and other accusers say presentation has broken the law time and again by failing to perform its duty as a “mandatory reporter,” which might have triggered questions from police.
“I cannot think of any reason why they did not follow the laws. They are simple and straightforward,” Leehane said. “If you have any suspicion of abuse, you go to law enforcement.”
In a statement, Presentation High School condemned the allegations, saying it conducted an investigation into Ms. Leehane’s complaint, but could not disclose details, citing privacy concerns.
There has been no legal action taken against Presentation High School by any of the accusers so far.
But some of those who signed the petition are encouraging alumnae to withhold financial support from the school until it agrees to an outside, independent investigation.
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