Presentation High Alums Launch Website to Tell Stories of Sexual Misconduct in Their Own Words

NBC Bay Area – KNTV

January 22, 2018

By Michael Bott and Vicky Nguyen

A website launched by graduates of Presentation High School, a San Jose Catholic school for girls, details a timeline of sexual harassment and abuse allegations going all the way back to 1984

Graduates of a prestigious San Jose Catholic school for girls who say they were victims of sexual misconduct have launched a website to tell their stories in their own words.

The “Make Pres Safe” website includes a timeline spanning three decades that details each allegation of misconduct at Presentation High School. The site, which includes the personal statements of many accusers, blames school administrators for failing to report many of the allegations to police or Child Protective Services when they were brought to the school’s attention.

The driving forces behind the website are Kathryn Leehane and Cheryl Hodgin Marshall, who graduated from the school nearly three decades ago and say school administrators failed to act when they came to them with separate stories of abuse. They worked with San Jose attorney Robert Allard and his team of investigators, who have not sued the school but are actively looking into multiple claims of sexual misconduct.

Leehane, whose essay in the Washington Post last year recounted how she was groped, kissed, and shown a pornographic photo by Spanish teacher John Fernandez in 1990, was the first Presentation graduate to go public with her story. Her essay, which she says was meant to bring personal closure, ended up sparking a social media firestorm and prompted other graduates to come forward with their own stories. Leehane said she told current Principal Mary Miller about what happened to her on separate occasions in 1993 and 1994, but police were never notified, and the teacher was allowed to teach at the school until he retired in 2004. Fernandez died of cancer in 2015.

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