It would be up to the District Attorney and the Attorney General — who is running an ongoing statewide investigation into reporting and allegations of abuse by clergy — to prosecute former Presentation High administrators who failed to report such allegations to law enforcement, let alone parents, according to attorney Mike Reck with Jeff Anderson & Associates. The firm has sued extensively — including the Vatican itself — on behalf of those sexually abused by clergy.
“(Presentation High) didn't suddenly grow a conscience and decide it was wrong to hurt children. Those children grew up and those children became survivors and those children spoke to the media,” Reck said.
Reck draws attention to what’s not in the report: six staff members remain unnamed, for lack of evidence, say the report’s authors. He says the report was “carefully crafted such that it only trickles out the little bit of information that was required by survivors,” adding this is a “systemic problem with the Diocese of San Jose and with the Sisters of the Presentation.” They are the Order of nuns who established not just Presentation High, but multiple schools around California, including several in the Bay Area.
Reck says the allegations of abuse against the unnamed people in the report should be thoroughly investigated for public safety. “Where do they live? What communities are they being exposed to? Have those communities been warned?”
A Lawsuit is Coming
Jeff Anderson & Associates plans to file suit against Presentation High — and the Diocese of San Jose — on behalf of a client alleging abuse by a nun at the school back in the 1970s. Reck said the firm is interested in more than the one woman. Through the process of discovery, “the identities and the whereabouts and history of every alleged perpetrator will be sought,” he said.
Meanwhile, Leehane said she is satisfied with the way the new president of the school, Holly Elkins, handled the investigation. When Presentation High made the report public, Elkins and the Chair of the Board of Directors released a letter outlining its findings, along with the changes the school is making to ensure student safety moving forward. “To the survivors of abuse, we deeply and sincerely apologize. The stark truth is that our school did not live up to its commitment to protect you,” the letter said. Additionally, the entire board of the school resigned, writing “The time is right to step aside and make room for new oversight and governance."
Update 7:00 p.m. 7/17/20: KQED contacted the Diocese of San Jose before publication of this story. The first statement, provided on 7/14, commended the Sisters of the Presentation and their high school for its independent investigation. A spokesperson for the Diocese also wrote by email, "Please note that Presentation High School is an independent Catholic school and not part of our Diocesan schools. They have a Board of Trustees and Directors, as well as the religious order that make decisions and operate independently from the Diocese."
New Investigation Announced (bold added): The Diocese of San Jose sent out a second statement at 4:26 p.m. on Friday, 7/17, saying it is "disheartened to learn of the findings presented in the investigative report...In reviewing Presentation's newly released report, the Diocese has confirmed that it previously employed two of the individuals identified therein. Marian Stuckey worked for the Diocese as its Superintendent of Catholic Schools between 1993 and 2009. In addition, Jeff House worked as a teacher at Archbishop Mitty High School, a diocesan Catholic school, between 1982 and 1999.
"The Diocese of San Jose will, therefore, be initiating an independent investigation to ensure proper accountability of any complaints, allegations, or reported incidents that may have occurred during their respective periods of employment with the Diocese."
"The Diocese encourages any victim/survivor to come forward and report any improper conduct either historically or currently at Archbishop Mitty High School or any diocesan schools by taking the following steps: First, contact their local civil authorities. Then, once a report is filed with the local civil authorities, the individuals are encouraged to contact the Diocese's Office for the Protection of Children & Vulnerable Adults at 408-983-0113. Reports to the Diocese are also accepted by a secure third-party reporting service at opcva.ethicspoint.com or call 1-844-372-1619. "
Update 7/20/20: The Diocese of San Jose sent out a correction about Marian Stuckey's title when she worked for the Diocese between 1993 and 2009. "She was hired as the Assistant Superintendent in 1993 and was promoted to Superintendent in 1999."