A former Los Gatos Excessive College star monitor athlete is responding to an NBC Bay Space investigation saying she was sexually abused on campus years in the past and the college failed to guard her.
Former Los Gatos Excessive College star athlete and sports activities broadcaster Heather Hennessey is talking out about her alleged abuse on the faculty within the late Nineties.
“I suffered in silence for thus lengthy,” Hennessey mentioned.
Hennessey says a pupil rally final summer time and the Investigative Unit’s recent two-part report on the school’s #MeToo movement inspired her to go public along with her allegations of being sexually abused by ex-Los Gatos Excessive College monitor coach Chioke Robinson. The abuse occurred when she was a pupil at the highschool between 1998 and 1999, she mentioned.
In a lawsuit filed last month, Hennessey mentioned Robinson “repeatedly sexually abused [her,] attempting to the touch her [inappropriately] whereas on the LGHS campus.” She mentioned Robinson adopted her from Archbishop Mitty Excessive College to Los Gatos Excessive College (LGHS). She left Mitty, she mentioned, attempting to flee Robinson. The Diocese of San Jose, which oversees Mitty, mentioned in a earlier report it takes all allegations of abuse critically and helps victim-survivors.
Reacting to the Investigative Unit’s reporting on a latest outpouring of student sexual assault and harassment claims by present and former LGHS college students, Hennessey mentioned she was upset “this [LGHS] tradition nonetheless exists.”
Particularly, Hennessey says the college fails to consider and shield college students who come ahead with sexual abuse claims. She says faculty officers failed to guard her when she reported Robinson’s abuse to his boss.
“I reported to my head monitor coach [Robinson’s supervisor] that I had been abused, and he had lined it up,” she mentioned. “He instructed me that my profession can be ruined. That I wouldn’t be capable to go on to attend USC – utilizing worry ways to silence me.”
Some 20 years later, in 2019, Robinson was arrested and charged with sexually abusing not less than three different women. Robinson has pleaded not responsible and is out on bail awaiting courtroom proceedings. LGHS’ former head monitor coach by no means responded to the Investigative Unit’s requests for remark.
Hennessey isn’t the one former Los Gatos Excessive College pupil alleging abuse by Robinson on the LGHS campus. Jane Doe – whose actual identify shouldn’t be recognized in courtroom paperwork – can also be suing Los Gatos – Saratoga Excessive College District. Lawyer Lauren Cerri represents Doe in her lawsuit towards the District.
“So, once I noticed [the Investigative Unit’s] reporting…and I noticed these statements [by the superintendent] ‘This is likely one of the hardest issues for college districts to take care of…when it occurs off campus.’ Effectively, you don’t even deal with it appropriately when it occurs on campus,” Cerri mentioned.
Robinson is recognized however not named as a defendant in Hennessey’s lawsuit. He hasn’t commented on Hennessey’s claims.
Robinson is called in Doe’s case. An legal professional representing him in that lawsuit despatched a press release which reads in full:
“Mr. Robinson was shocked and devastated by the allegations and adamantly professes his innocence. He has been a coach and mentor of all ages, genders and backgrounds, and a pillar locally for nearly 20 years. Every time there’s a potential financial award, it places claimants’ motives into query. There was a one-sided narrative portrayed all through this course of. We ask the media to not painting a one-sided story as truth. We anticipate the trial to make clear his innocence and these one-sided allegations. One should observe the legislation and the presumption of innocence to ensure that there to be any equity and justice.”
Cerri additionally represented the household of Audrie Pott. Pott was the Saratoga Excessive College sophomore who took her life in 2012 after three male college students sexually assaulted her at a celebration and had been allowed again on campus.
Saratoga Excessive College and Los Gatos Excessive College are in the identical faculty district. Like different federally funded establishments, the district should observe federal Title IX laws prohibiting gender discrimination and sexual harassment, which incorporates rape.
Los Gatos – Saratoga Excessive College District didn’t have a Title IX coordinator when it acquired a Title IX grievance in August 2020. It employed an out of doors legislation agency to deal with the case. The agency decided the accused pupil and the college didn’t violate Title IX legal guidelines, based on investigative paperwork obtained by the Investigative Unit.
The district has since employed Title IX coordinator Megan Farrell whose LinkedIn profile exhibits she began the place in December 2020.
“How is it attainable that they’ve simply appointed a Title IX coordinator,” Cerri mentioned.
The college district’s superintendent Mike Grove mentioned he couldn’t touch upon the pending civil lawsuits. In earlier statements, he mentioned the district expanded employees coaching and pupil counseling. In August 2020, the college board authorised the hiring of Hirschfeld Kraemer legislation agency to conduct an unbiased investigation into broader claims round faculty tradition and pupil sexual abuse.
The Investigative Unit discovered investigators from the agency aren’t receiving as a lot pupil participation that they had hoped. In an electronic mail, Grove wrote, “the explanations behind the decrease participation…are unknown” however could possibly be due to a scarcity of in-person education. A number of college students inform the Investigative Unit they don’t belief the investigation or the district’s sincerity. One pupil cited Grove’s electronic mail final month to folks saying pupil sexual misconduct is “not a pervasive drawback in [the] District.”
“The way in which that Heather’s case was dealt with, the best way my consumer’s case was dealt with is the very same manner the ladies are being handled now,” Cerri mentioned. “It sends a message that they will’t communicate up.”
Farrell offered the Investigative Unit the next assertion on Monday morning:
“I wish to let Ms. Hennessy and Ms. Doe know that we hear them, and our coronary heart goes out to them.
As you realize, any alleged occasions that gave rise to the Chioke Robinson lawsuit occurred earlier than the present district management crew was in place. Nonetheless, our crew has made educating our college students about and defending them from sexual misconduct/assault one in every of our high priorities.”
Candice Nguyen is an investigative reporter with NBC Bay Space. To contact her about this story or others, electronic mail email@example.com.