Presentation High School Sexual Abuse
Jeff Anderson & Associates is recognized as one of the nation’s premier law firms to represent victims of childhood sexual abuse. We are smart, tough and relentless, but the virtue that ultimately sets us apart is our compassion. We are people who feel deeply and work tirelessly in response to an unjust world. We have a reputation for being the best at what we do, and that begins and ends with our ability to support, protect and guide survivors along their journey towards justice and healing. You are not alone.
If you were sexually abused or molested by a priest, clergy member or church employee at Presentation High School or within the Diocese of San Jose, you still have rights. We want to help. Contact us confidentially now.
Presentation School Sexual Misconduct Report
Located in Willow Glen (within the Diocese of San Jose in California) Presentation High School is a private college prep school for girls owned and operated by the Sister of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary (an order of nuns within the Catholic Church). In September of 2019, following a string of child sexual abuse reports and increasing attention resulting from abuse survivors sharing their stories, the administration enlisted Van Dermyden Maddux Law Corporation (Firm) to conduct a “thorough and impartial investigation into past reports of sexual abuse and misconduct and the handling of such allegations throughout the history of the school.” According to the report:
The investigation was undertaken to address a number of allegations which emerged in the media beginning in 2017. On October 20, 2017, the Washington Post published an op-ed wherein the author shared her experience of being abused by a high school teacher in 1990 and subsequently attempting to report the conduct. While the article did not identify the high school or the teacher, both became known because the author is a former Pres student. The article was followed by other reports of misconduct which surfaced on social media and other forums in subsequent months.
The report covers 47 years of abuse allegations concerning school staff ranging from 1970 to 2017. The report identified five former faculty and one coach that allowed the investigators to “form a good-faith belief the alleged conduct occurred.” They include:
- John Fernandez: a Spanish and French teacher between 1982 and 2004
- Peggy Orozco: a Spanish teacher and substitute English teacher from approximately 1979 to 1983
- Jeff House: an English and Journalism teacher between 1999 and 2004.
- Kris White: a religion teacher and Community Involvement Coordinator from 2001 to 2003
- Dave Garbo: an English teacher from 2006 to 2017
- Jenna Roe: a Junior Varsity Assistant Water Polo Coach between 2011 and 2013
The report also identifies an additional six individuals simply referred to as “Staff Members.”
Make Pres Safe: Student Survivors Demand Accountability
Beginning in October 2017, two Presentation alumni—Kathryn Leehane and Cheryl Hodgin Marshall—began a movement to expose the abuse committed and concealed by Presentation and other institutions, demand reform in the legal system, and provide support and resources to other survivors of child sexual abuse. The movement began with an op-ed Leehane wrote for the Washington Post, When the Legal System Fails Sexual Abuse Survivors We Have to Find Our Own Closure. Her story shone a light on the abuse kept in the shadows of the halls of Presentation for decades, and her courage coming forward opened the way for dozens of other survivors and witnesses to follow suit.
It had taken years for me to tell my story—of a gropey teacher who showed me pornography—to the police. And the well-meaning officer inadvertently confirmed what so many us who experience sexual assault have learned: We need to look elsewhere for resolution. We are on our own. —Kathryn Leehane
In 2018, Leehane and Marshall joined forces as Make Pres Safe “to advocate for the dozens of survivors of childhood sexual abuse from PHS.” The organization provides a thorough timeline of events and their ongoing efforts to expose abuse and hold Presentation accountable, including responses from school administrators. They also provide information on California sexual abuse legislation AB218 (now known as the California Child Victims Act, ) and numerous survivor resources.
You can visit their website here: Make Pres Safe Official Website
‘(Presentation High) didn’t suddenly grow a conscience and decide it was wrong to hurt children. Those children grew up and those children became survivors and those children spoke to the media.’ —Attorney Mike Reck, Jeff Anderson & Associates (full article here)