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Moraga district blames ex-student for being sexually abused by teachers

Friday, November 2, 2012

And you thought blaming the victim in rape cases went out with the hula hoop. How about Moraga School District’s blaming a young teenage girl for two middle school teachers sexually abusing her? That’s the legal response of the district and three of its former administrators being sued by Cal assistant swim coach Kristen Cunnane (pictured as a young teenager) for abuse she suffered as a middle school student in the 1990s—abuse that continued despite evidence that suggests school officials knew about child predators on its teaching staff and kept it secret. In its legal filing, the district and defendants say Cunnane “was herself responsible for the acts and damages of which she claims” in a lawsuit she filed last week.

The Contra Costa Times quotes a youth law expert not associated with the case as calling the response from the district and now-retired former school administrators Bill Walters, Paul Simonin and John Cooley “appalling.”

One of Cunnane’s accused molesters, science teacher Daniel Witters, committed suicide. The other, ex-gym teacher Julie Correa, to whom Cunnane turned for help after confiding that she’d been abused by Witters, is in prison.

For the district, more problems lie ahead. Two other former students at Joaquin Moraga Intermediate School where Cunnane was abused filed lawsuits against it and the same three former administrators in October. They’re seeking millions in damages.
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