As the Stanislaus County Office of Education begins its independent investigation into alleged physical abuse and misconduct at the Stanislaus Military Academy in Turlock, a new wave of serious, sexual allegations have surfaced.
Since TurlockCityNews.com brought the story to light, new sources have emerged alleging that teachers and SMA drill instructors have had sexual relationships with students.
Two separate sources, a staff member at SMA and a parent, say that two years ago a male teacher was dismissed from or re-assigned from SMA for having on-going sexual relationships with students. In a separate instance, a drill instructor was allegedly dismissed for sexual misconduct two years ago.
Both sources requested anonymity for fear of reprisal.
TurlockCityNews.com has confirmed that the male teacher was indeed accused of having an illicit relationship with a female student. According to SCOE Human Resources Director Barbara Tanner, the teacher had allegations against him for sexual misconduct with a student, however the allegations where never proven.
“In the face of the allegations he resigned. He was on probation at the time,” said Tanner.
In Stanislaus County there are no court records of any charges against the teacher. The two sources say the female student is currently still at SMA.
The other incident, the sources say, allegedly involved a male Military Cadet Trainer, or Drill Instructor, who had a sexual relationship with a female student. Tanner says the Drill Instructor resigned his position in May of 2012 and she had no first-hand knowledge of any misconduct in his file.
Independent Investigation Moves Forward, Principal Placed on Administrative Leave
SCOE Assistant Superintendent of Administrative Services Susan Rich has identified Pleasanton attorney Kelsey Olson as the independent investigator looking into allegations at SMA.
Olson is a graduate of the University of California, Davis and the John F. Kennedy University School of Law, who was licensed to practice law in 2012. She was a substitute teacher for over five years, working with middle-school students and special education students, and specializes in Education Law.
Olson works at the law firm of Atkinson, Andelson, Loya, Ruud & Romo, which has experience working with public sector clients, representing more than half of the school districts in California.
Rich says that prior to the investigation currently underway, the decision was made to place SMA Principal Alberto Valerde on paid administrative leave for the duration of the investigation. She explained that the decision is purely “standard protocol during investigations like this.”
Interim-Principal Telka Walser and other SCOE officials reportedly held a staff-wide meeting yesterday to explain her role. Rich called Walser “an experienced administrator.”
SCOE Superintendent Tom Changnon says the investigation at SMA is progressing but could not give any sort of timeline for when the investigation will be completed. He also indicated that the findings from the investigation could likely contain personnel matters, which he says are not subject to public record. However, parents of involved students will be given a copy of the investigation's findings and conclusions.
Part 1: Parents: Mismanagement at Turlock's Stanislaus Military Academy Led to Suicide, Injuries, Retaliation
Part 2: SCOE Launches Independent Investigation into Stanislaus Military Academy Mismanagement
Part 3: “Culture of Fear” at SMA Leaves Parents In Fear of Retaliation
Watch the video news coverage from Tim Daly at News10/KXTV at the link below:
"Military high school under fire after suicide"