Officials at a San Francisco Bay Area school district in the 1990s initially refused to give a police detective statements accusing a teacher of abuse and may have failed to report some of the allegations, according to a police report obtained by a newspaper.
The 1996 report was written by Moraga police Detective Julie Valdez, the Contra Costa Times reported over the weekend. Valdez said then that Moraga School District Superintendent John Cooley told her he did not feel comfortable giving her statements that had been made against the teacher, Daniel Witters.
Valdez said she eventually obtained the reports against Witters and noticed that two were from 1994 and 1995, but Moraga police had no record of those reports.
Witters was never charged, and he killed himself after several girls came forward with abuse allegations in 1996 and he was placed on administrative leave.
Four women have since sued the school district, alleging that the failure to act on suspicions involving Witter led to their subsequent abuse.
One of those cases was settled, but three others are pending, the Times reported.
"Had Moraga administrators fulfilled their legal obligation to report (earlier), then several girls would never have been abused by Witters thereafter," David Ring, an attorney for two victims, told the newspaper.
A call to a listing for John Cooley in Santa Barbara was not immediately returned. The Times said Cooley's attorney also did not return a message seeking comment.
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