Criminal charges were filed Thursday against the principal and a former administrator at St. Joseph High School in Orcutt after they allegedly failed to report suspected child sexual abuse to law enforcement, according to Santa Barbara County District Attorney Joyce Dudley.
Principal Joseph Myers and former Dean of Students John Walker face the misdemeanor charges stemming from a sexual assault allegedly committed by two other students against a 16-year-old victim identified only as Jane Doe.
Myers and Walker were told of the assault by the victim and her parents, Dudley said, but did not share the information with the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department.
Myers and Walker failed to report the assault between Sept. 14, 2011, and April 5, 2012, according to the complaint filed by the District Attorney’s Office.
Because of their positions with the school, both men are considered “mandated reporters” under state law, Dudley said.
Myers “has been placed on administrative leave pending the resolution of this matter,” according a statement issued Thursday afternoon by Tod M. Tamberg, director of media relations for the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles.
“The Archdiocese of Los Angeles became aware today of the charges against St. Joseph High School principal Joseph Myers and former dean of students John Walker,” Tamberg said.
“Archdiocesan policy requires full adherence to California State mandated reporting laws in all schools within the Archdiocese.”
Reached by telephone Thursday afternoon, Myers referred all questions to the archdiocese.
Walker left St. Joseph at the end of the school year, according to archdiocese spokeswoman Carolina Guevara.
Charges have been filed against the two teenage suspects in the case, and their cases are proceeding through the criminal-justice system, Dudley said.
Their names were not released because they are minors.
The maximum penalty for failing to report is six months in jail and/or a $1,000 fine.
The two school administrators are due in court July 30, Dudley said.