News

Timeline: Palo Alto High sexual assault case

How the Palo Alto Unified School District handled the allegations

• See related article: School board to meet on Paly sexual assault case

Oct. 25, 2015: Male Palo Alto High School student sexually assaults a then-15-year-old Menlo-Atherton High School student in a bathroom at a local church. The victim files a report with the Palo Alto Police Department in November. A restraining order was issued preventing any contact with the victim. (He is later convicted in juvenile court, placed on probation and given a three-year stay-away order from the victim.)

January 2016: The same male Paly student allegedly sexually assaults a non-PAUSD student at a house party in Redwood City, according to KTVU. Her mother reports the incident to the Palo Alto Police Department, according to KTVU. (The Weekly has been unable to confirm this information.)

On/Around Oct. 11, 2016: A female Paly freshman reports to school officials that the male student forced her to perform oral sex in a Paly bathroom. Palo Alto Police Department is notified and the mother says an emergency restraining order was issued and served on the boy in the presence of a Paly vice principal. (Superintendent Max McGee tells the Weekly on May 15, 2017, that Paly received the restraining order but that he was unaware of it at the time.)

December 2016: The federal Office for Civil Rights (OCR) submits a draft resolution agreement to the Palo Alto school district after completing its investigation into unrelated sexual harassment and violence incidents at Paly and Gunn over the preceding three years.

Dec. 22, 2016: Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge Margaret Johnson finds that beyond a reasonable doubt, the male student committed oral copulation by force, violence, duress, menace or fear for the October 2015 church bathroom assault.

Jan. 18, 2017: Johnson signs a three-year restraining order prohibiting contact between the male student and the October 2015 victim.

Jan. 30, 2017: The PAUSD Uniform Compliant Procedure (UCP) log indicates the opening of a Title IX investigation at Paly, but it is unknown if it involved the Paly bathroom incident. (The log states "Memo to file" and marked closed on March 13.)

Jan. 31, 2017: A letter from the Juvenile Justice Department with this date is sent to PAUSD notifying the district that the male Paly student was convicted in juvenile court.

Feb. 28: School board unanimously approves resolution agreement with OCR pertaining to past sexual harassment and assault issues at Paly and Gunn.

March 2017: A third victim, not a PAUSD student, notifies the district that she was allegedly sexually assaulted by the same male student off campus at a January 2016 Redwood City party, according to KTVU. (The Weekly has been unable to verify this information.)

March 8: OCR releases its letter of findings, detailing the district's repeated failure to properly respond to and investigate reports of sexual misconduct over several years.

March 24: The church victim and her mother meet with Chief Student Services Officer Holly Wade to request the district open an investigation.

March 31: District UCP log shows the opening of a Title IX investigation at Paly. The Paly victim's mother has stated she is being asked to cooperate with the law firm conducting the investigation. No resolution has been noted.

May 10: KTVU airs its story.

May 11: McGee notifies OCR about the allegations, stating to the Weekly he doesn't know if other staff had notified the agency earlier.

May 16: School board holds special meeting to evaluate the performance of McGee, Paly Principal Kim Diorio and Chief Student Services Officer Holly Wade, also the district's Title IX coordinator. Board takes no personnel action, but decides to hire national law firm Cozen O'Connor to investigate district administrators' handling of the case and to aide in the superintendent's performance evaluation.

May 16: In a statement, an attorney for the male student says he will not complete the school year at Paly, and that the district attorney's office declined to file any charges against him "other than consensual underage sexual activity" for the incident that occurred at Paly in October 2016.

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Comments

10 people like this
Posted by Justice Jim
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on May 15, 2017 at 8:20 pm

PALY District Meeting is [Tuesday] night. Interested to see what action is decided to be taken...


29 people like this
Posted by Concerned dad
a resident of Community Center
on May 15, 2017 at 8:35 pm

How many other times has this male student committed assault without victims courageously coming forward? Scary.


17 people like this
Posted by Mom
a resident of Fairmeadow
on May 15, 2017 at 9:06 pm

Will he be expelled from all the PAUSD schools immediately?
I heard that a student would be transferred to other PAUSD school when he did something wrong. That's why there was one class dedicated to newly transferred students and most of the classmates did something wrong when my daughter was transferred to that class at JLS from our old town in the middle of the year. Back then JLS was less populated among other PAUSD middle schools, so all the transferred students came to JLS first.
Will he come to Gunn without revealing what he did because he is a minor?
Well, students would know who he is probably by chatting behind. But how will I know as a parent which student is dangerous?


22 people like this
Posted by Paly Parent
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on May 15, 2017 at 9:07 pm

My child knows of someone in 12th who was affected by the male student. There are likely more out there who are too embarrassed to tell.

With the train suicides, principal and teacher being fired for sexual deviance, Diorio and McGee were probably hoping this wouldn't surface, as we are 3 weeks from the end of the school year. Thank you, KTVU. We need leaders who care about our students, not just the PAUSD reputation. We need more than just figureheads. Neither have addressed student stress.

And have you seen the cut-through traffic on Churchill in the morning, driving right next to our student bikers? Someone has gotten hit by a car but there have been no improvements there. The situation has fallen on deaf ears. Diorio is quite aware of the dangers on Churchill, yet she ignores it.


4 people like this
Posted by what
a resident of Greenmeadow
on May 15, 2017 at 9:57 pm

Well, this might explain Holly Wade's departure from the district Web Link


24 people like this
Posted by More than one school
a resident of Gunn High School
on May 15, 2017 at 10:13 pm

@Mom:

If PAUSD decides to expel this kid, the only way we'll know is through the kids. EVERYTHING will be kept private: type of discipline, what school he may/may not be transferred to, etc.

As a parent, we won't know who is dangerous except for the student underground. My daughter was recently groped at Gunn. After telling him to stop and setting boundaries, she saw him do it to another girl and reported it. The kid is still on campus and is kept separate from my daughter. But now he's hanging around my younger daughter and her friends. Daughter 2 knows what happened with her sister and is on her guard. I can see how this can be a learning opportunity as it's not as serious as what happened to the girls in this story.

Although I wouldn't necessarily call this kid "dangerous", I did ask my kids to be more vigilant and if they see him on campus to watch him/his actions around other girls.

But you will never be told by the administration (told to me by Gunn administration when I spoke to them re: my situation) due to federal/privacy laws.

Here's hoping he's not transferred to Gunn.


28 people like this
Posted by Kathy Jordan
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on May 16, 2017 at 2:36 pm

How can the District be considered credible in handling these issues? Dr. McGee doesn't seem much informed according to his statements and the timeline above. Does this mean he is out of touch? Palo Principal Kim Diary withheld reporting 25 sexual misconduct reports for three years from the last set of OCR investigated incidents. Was there ongoing harm to students then? What about for these victims now? Apparently, as of Monday, Ms. Diorio is stating in an Infocus video that she is a survivor of sexual harassment. 81% of girls in 8th - 11th grade have experienced sexual harassment, according to the NWLC. So just about every woman breathing is probably a survivor. Makes it even more odd she did not come forward and protect students by reporting their complaints. These incidents and how they are handled are student safety issues. How are we going to protect our children?


1 person likes this
Posted by Hmm
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on May 16, 2017 at 4:31 pm

[Post removed.]


12 people like this
Posted by Paly Student
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on May 16, 2017 at 5:19 pm

Another unfortunate thing the Paly administration has handled wrong and then tried to talk their way out of this year. I get that it's hard to not dig in one's heels in a situation like theirs, but if they owned up to mistakes and learned from those mistakes the first time around, things would be a lot better IMO. The InFocus segment did nothing but to lessen Ms. Diorio's credibility in the eyes of the students.


4 people like this
Posted by Former Paly Student
a resident of Downtown North
on May 16, 2017 at 7:42 pm

I think that the real problem is that punishment for crimes/school policy violations goes far beyond what the law/policy prescribes and no one is willing to ruin his life.


1 person likes this
Posted by citizen
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on May 16, 2017 at 9:25 pm

Why is the student still at school? With such repeated behavior he should be getting psychiatric treatment, at the least. Why are we risking safety of other students?


3 people like this
Posted by More than one school
a resident of Gunn High School
on May 16, 2017 at 9:35 pm

@citizen:

The student is leaving campus...

Web Link

But I worry...will they transfer him to Gunn or is he leaving the district? We won't be notified by the district. How will we know?


6 people like this
Posted by Member
a resident of another community
on May 16, 2017 at 9:54 pm

Palo Alto High School failed to protect their female students from this serial molester. The girls were assaulted by the school athlete and then had to endure bullying for coming forward. The school did not pull all extracurricular privileges from this athlete as the school policy requires. The school officials should have been checking the school graffiti daily and social media in order to be aware of what is happening within their walls.

If this was my local high school I would be petitioning for the removal of McGee and Diorio. They should be held accountable for their roles in ignoring the rights of their female students.


4 people like this
Posted by Kathy Jordan
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on May 17, 2017 at 1:22 pm

While he won't be completing the school year at Paly this year, he is a junior. What about next year?


10 people like this
Posted by Local Self-Defense Instructor
a resident of Midtown
on May 17, 2017 at 1:26 pm

Do our students understand personal boundaries?

I find it interesting that PALY, GUNN and other local schools have repeatedly ignored my attempts to teach self-defense workshops at their schools. Even PAPD is interested in me doing this. Yet somehow the administrations of these schools have expressed no interest...

One of my senior Karate students even tried to set up a self-defense club at Gunn at the beginning of this school year and was turned down.

I have been teaching self-defense since 1989 (traditional Karate since 1984). I have quite a few PALY students in my bi-weekly self-defense classes (in Palo Alto). But EVERYONE should learn some self-defense skills. Some of what we work on is physical skills but we also talk about things like personal boundaries. I think many of our students (as well as others) could benefit from such conversations.

And yes, I am very much interested in speaking to the macho boys as well about respect, no-means-no, etc.

Oh. And I have been offering to teach these self-defense workshops at all our local schools for FREE. Yes. I am the high end for Karate instruction on the west coast and have very limited time available yet I am offering to do this for no charge. And I'm still being turned down...

Parents- Are you also interested in turning a blind eye toward the problem? I didn't think so. Please consider signing this petition: Web Link

Thank you. Your kids will thank you later. And hopefully the school administrators will thank me later as well. ;-)


2 people like this
Posted by Wow
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on May 17, 2017 at 1:51 pm

"And yes, I am very much interested in speaking to the macho boys as well about respect, no-means-no, etc."

There's the glaring red flag statement right there. If you don't see it you're part of the problem. Please do not get anywhere near our boys. Thank you PASD for denying this person access to our children. it was obviously a very sound decision.


6 people like this
Posted by Lean on facts...
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on May 17, 2017 at 4:34 pm

We seem to be very lean on facts...a lot of gaps in the timeline (even identified as missing by the timeline) which people are now filling with conjecture. The slow pace the district's attorneys are working at to wordsmith every email and press release isn't helping this matter. Questions that we need answered:
1. Assault on campus? No? How do you know? Because the DA declined to press charges? Why did they decline? Yes? What was the response? Why?
2. Can the district remove a student convicted of an off-campus assault? No? Why not? Yes? Why didn't they?

The 1st set of questions probably can't be answered because of privacy (of both students!) But the 2nd questions seem open to public discussion and germane to addressing people's concerns.


2 people like this
Posted by Consent 101
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 17, 2017 at 6:51 pm

@Wow... so you don't want your boys to learn about consent? Now THAT is just WOW.


2 people like this
Posted by Concerned Resident
a resident of Palo Alto Hills
on May 19, 2017 at 3:44 pm

[Post removed.]


5 people like this
Posted by Far Far Away
a resident of another community
on May 20, 2017 at 8:06 am

The only questions that matters now are how many more victims of this guy are out there and is anyone trying to find out.


Like this comment
Posted by Education
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 22, 2017 at 3:01 pm

@ WOW
I fail to see how the statement you quote is a "glaring red flag statement". Please explain.


Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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