A woman suing the Moraga School District on charges of failing to act on her complaints of sexual abuse by teachers in 1996 Wednesday accepted an apology from the district for suggesting she may have been partly to blame for what happened, her lawyer said.
The school district's governing board at its meeting in Moraga Wednesday morning issued a formal apology to Kristen Cunnane for charging in its answer to her suit that she may have been "careless and negligent" prior to the alleged abuse.
"The Governing Board and its attorneys, Stubbs and Leone, apologize to Ms. Cunnane for any anxiety or distress caused by the inclusion of this defense in its response to her pleading," the district stated.
The district board will "withdraw the defense of comparative fault and any assertion of carelessness or negligence on the part of Ms. Cunnane" from its defense pleadings, according to the statement.
Cunnane, 30, a swimming coach at the University of California at Berkeley, issued a response though her San Francisco attorney Paul Llewellyn.
"We appreciate the apology and are pleased that the district is formally withdrawing the defenses," Llewellyn said. "We hope this signals the start of a more productive dialog."
A spokeswoman for school district Superintendent Bruce Burns said that Burns would have no further comment beyond the statement.
Cunnane has asked for unspecified damages in her suit against four defendants, including the district, a former principal and vice principal of Joaquin Moraga Intermediate School and a former district superintendent, charging they failed to act on her complaints of sexual abuse in the 1990s.
The plaintiff claims that the defendants did not follow up on her reports of sexual mistreatment by Julie Correa, a gym teacher, and Daniel Witters, a science teacher, in 1996 when Cunnane was a child enrolled at the middle school in Moraga.
Witters committed suicide that year after the sex abuse charges from Cunnane surfaced. Correa was convicted last year of rape and sexual battery and sentenced to eight years in prison.
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