SANTA MARIA – St. Joseph High School Principal Joe Myers and Dean of Students John Walker are accused of failing to report alleged sex abuse involving St. Joe students during the last school year off-campus.
Myers has since been placed on paid administrative leave by the Archdiocese of Los Angeles which has operational authority for the private, Catholic school.
John Walker no longer works at the high school and was dismissed at the end of the last school year.
Both Myers and Walker were due to appear in Santa Maria Superior Court for the first time Monday morning to answer to the charges against them.
Both men say they were acting on behalf of and at the request of the families of the two girls involved in the case and that they never tried to cover up anything.
Walker, who also taught at St. Joseph High School and was the boy's water polo coach, was granted extra time by the judge to find an attorney before he entered a plea to the charge of failing to immediately report alleged sex abuse or child neglect to local authorities.
St. Joseph High School Principal Joe Myers is faced with the same charges as Walker but did not appear in court and was represented by his attorney.
"There was no willful cover-up here", says Myers' defense attorney Michael Scott, "there was no willful failure to disclose."
Scott says Myers was acting on behalf of the family of one of the alleged victims involved because the family said the teenage girl was not psychologically prepared to participate in a criminal prosecution of her alleged attackers.
"The Principal did what the family wanted and they made steps to make sure the child was safe on campus and with her education", Scott says, "but there was no willful attempt to hide this from the authorities, in fact they had already been reported to the authorities before this occurred, once the victim felt she was well enough to report the incident then St. Joseph's and my client cooperated fully with the investigation in all aspects."
John Walker says his dismissal from St. Joseph High School at the end of the last school year by Principal Myers had nothing to do with the current allegations against him.
Walker says he too was acting to protect the girls at the request of their families.
"The truth will come out, I'm confident that it will", Walker said outside court Monday morning, "I'm being patient, like I said I'm good with God, I'm good with those families, and those children and so I feel really good, we're confident, I'm fine with it, I'm very fine with those children, I know what I did was correct."
Both Walker and Myers are due back in court next month to enter a formal plea to the charges against them which we are told will be an emphatic not guilty.
The charges against both men carry a penalty of jail time and or a $1,000 fine.
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