Cal’s Cunnane Claims School District Protected Sexual Predators

WALNUT CREEK, California, September 26. KRISTEN Cunnane is battling the Moraga School District, filing a lawsuit Tuesday over claims that the district ignored numerous accusations of sexual abuse in the 1990s at the hands of a science teacher.

Cunnane, who is now the associate head coach of the women's swimming team at UC-Berkeley, also alleges that she was harassed and abused by the science teacher, and was repeatedly raped and battered by a physical education teacher at Joaquin Moraga Intermediate School. The lawsuit against the school district also involves three district administrators, according to an article published in the San Jose Mercury News: Retired Joaquin Moraga Intermediate School principal Bill Walters, retired assistant principal Paul Simonin and retired superintendent John Cooley. The lawsuit does not specifically name the three, but lists the jobs they held in the district. Cunnane alleges administrators ignored the evidence that students at the time were also being victimized.

Cunnane alleges that Julie Correa, who was a physical education teacher at Joaquin Moraga Intermediate School when Cunnane was a student there, subjected Cunnane to six years of hundreds of instances of rape and sexual battery, as well as kidnapping, stalking and threatening. Cunnane reported the history of abuse to police in 2010, resulting in Correa's arrest and sentencing to eight years in prison.

Cunnane's lawsuit claims that she was sexually molested while a teenager by science teacher Dan Witters. Witters committed suicide in 1996 when police began investigating him. Cunnane had informed Correa of Witters' history of abuse, but instead of informing authorities, Correa began sexually abusing Cunnane. Cunnane alleges that Correa was enabled and emboldened by the district's lack of action in reporting Witters' abuse.

Since going public with her history of sexual abuse, Cunnane has made a name for herself in the swimming community. She made the Olympic Trials semifinals in the 100 and 200 butterfly events in 2004, and segued to coaching at Berkeley, where the Golden Bears have won three NCAA women's team titles in four years.

Editor's note: The current version of this article further clarifies the history of abuse Cunnane alleges in the lawsuit.

Full text of San Jose Mercury News article

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