Moraga School District seeks Cunnane dismissal

Lawyers representing the Moraga School District are trying to get a current sex abuse case dismissed because the case is simply “untimely.”

In the ongoing civil trial, former student Kristen Cunnane says officials covered up sexual abuse at her school, which helped lead to her years of molestation as a middle school student.

In a Martinez courtroom on Friday, the district’s lawyers argued that the case should be tossed because the statute of limitations has passed.

On trial is the Moraga School District along with former principal Bill Walters, assistant principal Paul Simonin and superintendent John Cooley, for allegedly not acting on evidence that Cunnane and others were being sexually assaulted by two faculty members in the mid-90s.

One of the teachers who allegedly assaulted Cunnane, Dan Witters, committed suicide in 1996 after several students came forward with details of abuse. The other teacher, a P.E. teacher named Julie Correa, is currently serving an eight-year sentence for assaulting Cunnane up to an estimated 500 times during a five-year period.

Moraga School District lawyers argue that the case should be thrown out because Cunnane suffered her abuse as late as the year 2000, and thus the statute of limitations for sexual abuse has passed.

But Paul Llewellyn, Cunnane’s attorney, said the case is not about the sexual abuse, but the cover-up that was exposed by a Contra Costa Times reporter last year. He told the judge:

“The defendants are asking you to reward them for their cover-up.”

Cunnane told the CoCo Times that the defense’s arguments were difficult to listen to:

“I feel like the school district is once again blaming me. Now they say I should have filed the lawsuit earlier because apparently I should have found out about their cover-up earlier.”

Judge Judith Craddick requested more written arguments from both sides and scheduled another hearing for July 29.