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2 Abuse Claims Filed Against Moraga District

Update: Unidentified women say they were molested by Joaquin Moraga Intermediate teacher in the 1990s.

Update, Nov. 2. Comment from school district in Cunnane case.

Two new claims against the Moraga School District accuse administrators of failing to follow up on abuse allegations made in the 1990s.

The two claims for $15 million each alleged the district and its administrators allowed molestations to take place because of flawed investigations at Joaquin Moraga Intermediate School, according to a story in the Contra Costa Times.

The claims allege abuse by former Joaquin Moraga teacher Daniel Witters, who committed suicide in 1996 shortly after the original allegations were made, the Times reported. The two "Jane Does" making the claims read about another abuse allegation made against Witters in the 1990s in an investigation earlier this year by the newspaper.

The district is also defending itself against a lawsuit filed in September by Kristen Cunnane a former JM student claiming abuse by Witters and another teacher at the school in the 1990s. In an October legal filing, the district stated "Carelessness and negligence on (Cunnane's) part proximately contributed to the happenings of the incident and to the injuries, loss and damages," according to the Contra Costa Times.

The district in June established a Board Committee for Student Safety to review "policies, practices and training regarding child abuse and mandated reporting."

Moraga School District Superintendent Bruce Burns declined to comment on the new claims.

Regular Guy November 03, 2012 at 02:29 AM
Chris is correct that once it becomes about $45M common sense is no longer possible. As he says, if the plaintiffs were to modify the lawsuit to seek structural changes only it would be possible to reach a result that satisfies everyone. Does a child abuse victim deserve a pile of money? Maybe, if you believe that money can heal the wounds. Does the victim deserve money taken from other children's education or from citizens who had no part in the crime? No way. Get the money only from people who were to blame, not from the blameless.
KFrances November 03, 2012 at 02:57 AM
If she saw the blatent and repeated disregard of her accusations and the denial and the 'blaming of the victim' and true corruption, her only avenue was a lawsuit. Beuracracies mostly stonewall. The 45 Million is excessive but that is also part of the deal with lawsutis I think...they work down from there and maybe she will give it all to charity - or back to MSD. I don't think it's about the cash payoff. But for the attorneys it is for sure..I don't know - it's just ugly all the way around. No winners here - but I do think that legal response by MSD was especially ugly. It didn't happen all that long ago.
Cooper Hall November 03, 2012 at 03:11 AM
@K - There's absolutely nothing wrong with my form unless you dislike the truth. The district and Ms. Cunnane are engaged in a PR war at the moment. They must ascertain how public sentiment is swinging. This case won't make it to trial. Both sides are trying to determine who has the best negotiating advantage so that a final dollar figure that's mutually agreeable can be reached. Civil cases such as this one are about PR. To think otherwise is naive.
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