Moffitt out as Tenaya principal

Austen Thibault, The Union Democrat /

Today is the last day former Tenaya Elementary School Principal Susan Moffitt will collect district pay, after being put on administrative leave for apparently not reporting to police allegations of sexual abuse at her former school.

Darrel Golden, a former second- and fourth-grade teacher at Traina Elementary School in Tracy, was sentenced last month to 14 years in state prison after pleading guilty to sexual abuse of several students.

Moffitt had been principal at Traina over several years, starting in 2006, at which point Golden was inappropriately touching students, according to grand jury testimony at his trial.

According to grand jury testimony, parents complained to Moffitt, who opted to tell her superiors and scold Golden rather than call police. California law requires school employees to contact police when they suspect sexual abuse.

Moffitt's and other administrators' failure to make a mandatory report is the basis for two lawsuits. At least one of them names Moffitt personally as liable for psychological damages suffered by the victims, according to documents filed in San Joaquin County Superior Court.

Moffitt was hired as principal at Tenaya Elementary School in Groveland in 2012.

She continued to serve as principal at Tenaya after Golden was arrested in August 2013 and after her own admission to the grand jury that she handled the allegations internally.

Big Oak Flat-Groveland Unified School District didn't originally plan to act against Moffitt, despite these issues.

Board of Trustees President Ian Morcott said Moffitt was innocent until proven guilty in the civil case and was not facing criminal penalty.

San Joaquin County District Attorney's Office spokesman Robert Himelblau said that was because the statute of limitations had passed by the time the full investigation was done.

Nonetheless, parents of Tenaya Elementary students rallied for action against Moffitt in November and December 2013, saying she was unfit for administration.

For the full story, see the June 30, 2014, edition of The Union Democrat.

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