Lawyers, victims: San Jose Catholic school didn't properly handle sex assault allegations against teachers


SAN JOSE (KRON) -- A number of sexual assault accusations are being made against teachers and staff at Presentation High School in San Jose.

The victims and their attorneys claim the problem stems from the way that the Catholic school handled these accusations.

Now, the victims are hoping the school will address the issue properly.

Former students who attended Presentation High School, along with parents and their attorneys, are calling on the administration to apologize for alleged sexual misconduct on campus and change way the school deals with the problem.

Dina Leonis claims that in 2014, the water polo coach sexually abused her daughter when she was a freshman the Catholic school.

Leonis says she reported the alleged abuse to the school administration, but they did not report it to police.

"If they had reported it, it would have been stopped," Leonis said.

Leonis say the sexual abuse continued for months.

Once she learned about it, she said she met with the principal and reported the incident to police herself.

"This failure led directly to multiple sexual assaults being committed upon my daughter, causing her to suffer extreme emotional damage which continues four years later until this present time," Leonis said.

The attorneys representing Leonis said that for the past eight weeks, they have been investigating sexual assault accusations at the high school, claiming to have found cases that involve eight teachers and as many as 17 victims

"And those incidences as far as we know have not been reported to the police," lawyer Ray Mendoza said.

The lawyers also say nothing has been reported to child protective services.

The families and attorneys want to change how Presentation High School deals with such accusations.

"There's no lawsuit at this point," Mendoza said. "What we want from the school is to acknowledge what has gone on and to remedy the situation."

Presentation High School administrators would not talk to KRON4 on camera but did issue this statement:

All reports of sexual harassment that have come to Presentation High School have been handled properly by the school administration. Some of the other claims made today, we are hearing for the first time."

The school also said that the safety and well-being of their students is a priority.

They said all of its employees receive training, and beginning in 2018, they will create a task force to review the current policies and procedures.

But the alleged victims say an apology would be a start.



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