St. Joseph High School Principal Joseph Myers and former Dean of Students John Walker have each been charged with a misdemeanor count of failing to pass on to law enforcement a reported incident of sexual assault on a student by two other students.
In addition, Walker has been charged with a second misdemeanor count of failing to report a suspected incident of sexual abuse because prosecutors allege he received, but did not disclose, a report of sexual assault involving a second student victim by at least one of the two accused students.
The Santa Barbara County District Attorney’s Office announced the charges against Walker and Myers on Thursday, the same day they were filed.
Walker, 42, and Myers, 56, have not been arrested. Rather, they received letters on Thursday informing them that they had been charged and telling them their court date, said Senior Deputy District Attorney Mag Nicola.
Myers has been placed on administrative leave pending resolution of the matter, according to the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, which oversees St. Joseph High, a private Catholic school in Orcutt.
Walker is no longer employed by the school.
“Archdiocesan policy requires full adherence to California State mandated reporting laws in all schools within the Archdiocese,” read a statement released by the Archdiocese on Thursday afternoon in response to the charges.
Myers and Walker could not be reached for comment.
According to the District Attorney’s Office, a 16-year-old female student at the high school and her parents reported an incident of sexual assault by two minor male students to Myers and Walker in September 2011.
Myers and Walker, who are mandated reporters because of their positions of responsibility with the school, failed to immediately report the suspected sexual assault to law enforcement as required, according to prosecutors.
Sheriff’s investigators received the report of the sexual assault on the 16-year-old victim in April of this year, according to Nicola.
Nicola said Thursday that over the course of a month-long investigation by Santa Barbara County sheriff’s detectives and district attorney’s office investigators, investigators learned of the second alleged sexual assault involving another female student victim that was purportedly reported to Walker.
Charges have already been filed against the two suspects in the sexual assaults, Nicola said, but he said he was prevented from revealing details of the alleged crimes or about those involved because they are all juveniles. He declined to reveal the age of the second alleged victim or the suspects.
Nicola said both alleged incidents of sexual assault happened sometime during late 2011 and early 2012.
The suspects have been charged in juvenile court.
The charges faced by Walker and Myers each carry up to six months in county jail and a $1,000 fine.
They are scheduled to make their first court appearance in Santa Maria on July 30.
At that time, Myers and Walker will presumably be arraigned, or formally charged, and will have the opportunity to enter a plea to the allegations.