Former Cal Women’s Assistant Coach Kristen Cunnane Makes Appearance on Dr. Oz Show to Discuss New Book: Undoing Jane Doe

McKeever,T. Cunnane,K.
Kristen Cunnane (left) appeared on the Dr. Oz show on Friday; Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

Former Cal women’s assistant coach Kristen Cunnane appeared on the Dr. Oz show on Friday. Cunnane talked about being sexually abused by one of her former teachers in middle school, Julie Correa. She talked about the difficulties of trying to move on after being abused as she struggled with depression, anxiety, and even the suicidal thoughts she had.

Cunnane talked about how she was able to break her silence and eventually come forward and tell someone about her abuse. She was able to come forward to her husband, who encouraged her to go to police. The authorities were able to arrest the former teacher and Cunnane said she was able to write about her experiences after finally having that closure.

Cunnane recently published “Undoing Jane Doe: How I Put the Middle School Coach and Teacher Who Sexually Abused Me Behind Bars,” which details her relationship with Correa and how she was groomed to eventually become Correa’s sex slave.

Swimming World contributor Sanford G. Thatcher recently published a book review for Cunnane’s memoir. An excerpt of the book review can be read below.


Photo Courtesy: Kristen Lewis Cunnane

Undoing Jane Doe Book Review by Sanford G. Thatcher

Undoing Jane Doe, in the course of the narrative it unfolds, does not shrink from revealing all these sordid and shocking details, but the book does so in pursuit of a noble and uplifting cause—the pursuit of justice. Long before anyone heard of the “Me Too” movement, Kristen mustered the fortitude, with the key encouragement and support of her closest friends, not least Scott who had become a district attorney, to engage the justice system in an effort to hold Julie Correa accountable for her misdeeds. It has, thankfully, a happy ending as Mrs. Correa accepted a plea bargain—in the face of charges that could have put her away for the rest of her life—that sentenced her to prison for eight years, a term that ended with her release in March 2018.

Kristen Cunnane is not a professional writer, but you would not know it from reading this book. It is a masterfully woven tapestry of chapters that intersperse flashbacks to the nights of physical hurt and psychological terror Kristen had to endure along with revelations about all the devious schemes Julie used to avoid discovery of this illicit affair, accounts of the ongoing prosecution of the case (which involved, initially, Kristen’s calling Julie on the phone to get her to admit to her crimes from a decade earlier), and an unfolding of the life that Kristen tried to lead, successfully in many ways overtly in academics and athletics, despite this heavy burden she was forced to carry.

Among the book’s stylistic devices that make it unusual and engaging is the inclusion of an ongoing interior monologue that is set apart, visually, by being placed in italics. The commentary here is often directed at Julie and reveals Kristen’s true thoughts and feelings that she could not dare to disclose to her abuser at the time. One might think of this monologue now as “Kristen’s revenge” because it shows what truly was going on while Julie built her own fantasy world of romance, believing as she said at trial that this girl only half her age had somehow become her peer capable of giving consent to this “relationship.” The monologue is brilliantly constructed, often including some black humor that helps bring a welcome laugh among so much that can only evoke tears.

Overall the book moves along at a steady pace, allowing the reader to integrate all the strands of the complex story being told, and while it feels often like an emotional rollercoaster, the highs ultimately outshine the lows, and one can only cheer for the outcome as a successful example of the justice system doing what it is supposed to do.

Indeed, people reading this book should have a box of tissues within reach. No one reading, for instance, the testimony of Kristen’s husband, Scott, at the hearing where impact statements were delivered and reading Kristen’s own testimony above all, which Scott called “amazing,” can help shed a tear for how much suffering was caused to Kristen above all, but also to so many of those who love her, whom she calls her “army” of supporters.

Anyone who has viewed the 48 Hours special titled “Kristen’s Secret” from 2014 will already know the basic facts of this story. That documentary was quite well done and is still worth viewing today. It is indeed the first way I learned about what happened to Kristen, who has since become a Facebook friend, as we share mutual interests in swimming. But it cannot get to the level of detail, and certainly not to the level of emotional intimacy and engagement, that this book affords to the reader. And you will get to know who Kristen really is much better, ultimately, through this book she has written than through the interview she gave to CBS.

The book comes to a close with Kristen’s deciding to retire as Cal’s Associate Head Coach, a title she had earned by 2011, regretfully but also sensibly, as she by that time had two young children to take care of. But, though bittersweet, this decision came right after yet another national championship for the Cal Bears in 2015, so that Kristen left at the peak of success, with only good memories to cherish.

Notify of

Welcome to our community. We invite you to join our discussion. Our community guidelines are simple: be respectful and constructive, keep on topic, and support your fellow commenters. Commenting signifies that you agree to our Terms of Use

1 Comment
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

I believe this site contains some really wonderful info for everyone :

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x