Santa Clara Unified took nearly two months to respond to Fly’s request for sexual harassment complaints by informing us that no such records exist. At least not from 2000 to May 3 of this year, according to Assistant Superintendent of School Support and District Development Andrew Lucia.
No claims, Lucia says, not even in response to Santa Clara High teacher Dominic Caserta’s alleged harassment of a few girls in spring of 2002, or seven years later when records indicate that he behaved inappropriately with yet another female student.
That’s because instead of looking up the relevant allegations, the school district took the liberty of narrowing the scope of Fly’s CPRA request for all claims of sexual harassment to just “written demand claim[s], or request[s] for damages.”
Even Santa Clara police—who failed to locate documentation of a 2002 incident memorialized in Caserta’s school personnel file—apparently have a better handle on record-keeping and transparency than Lucia, who’s in charge of monitoring such things for the U.S. Department of Education’s civil rights division.
A search for police reports involving sex crimes at Santa Clara High alone turned up 45 incidents in the past decade, including four involving district employees.
On May 2, 2013, a former student reported having a sexual relationship with a teacher when she was 16 years old. On Sept. 23 that same year, a janitor reportedly found a teacher and a high school girl alone late at night in the teacher’s car and later found a mattress under the teacher’s desk, along with bras, panties and condoms.
On Jan. 8, 2016, a 16-year-old girl told cops she was “inappropriately touched” by a 46-year-old school employee. And on April 27, 2017, a 62-year-old male coach walked into the girl’s locker room while students were changing.
Further, a cursory Google search turns up headlines about ex-Wilcox High teacher Edward Slate pleading guilty to having sex with a student, Santa Clara High custodian Joe Miller recruiting students to model for him, SCH teacher Hugo Guzman being charged with statutory rape and Walden West counselor Edgar “Papa Bear” Covarrubias getting busted for allegedly downloading child porn.