Documents allege Rock Church Academy knew about sex abuse accusations before reporting it
School faces lawsuit
Last Updated: 64 days ago
SAN DIEGO - An attorney told Team 10 there are internal documents that can prove administrators at a school run by the Rock Church knew about allegations of sexual abuse.
The Rock Church Academy says it fired a teacher as soon as school officials discovered the alleged abuse. However, in two internal emails obtained by Team 10, the school's principal and some teachers saw red flags long before police were ever notified.
Latisha and Mel Zamora claim their daughter was molested by a former teacher at the Rock Church Academy.
"She goes, 'He did molest me, mommy.' I tried to keep it together; I wanted to run, scream and die," said Latisha Zamora.
The Zamoras claim the abuse happened when their daughter was 7 years old, during movie time in a kindergarten classroom.
"She kept apologizing, asking me not to be ashamed of her," said Mel Zamora.
Attorney Steve Estey is representing five children with similar stories. He said the Academy knew about the abuse long before it was reported.
"It appears there may have been an attempt to cover this up," said Estey.
Estey said a fellow teacher walked in during movie time and blew the whistle to the principal.
In an internal email obtained by Team 10, the teacher wrote:
"The door was locked and all the lights were off. When I unlocked the door (student) jumped off (teacher's) lap. I am sure this is nothing, but it just didn't look right."
The principal responded to the accused teacher:
"I thought you told me you were no longer going to have all the lights out in the room or have kids on your lap on video day … I would like you to just turn off one set of lights and just have the kids sit on the floor."
"That's the unfortunate thing; the molest went on for another year after that," said Estey.
The Zamoras said the church did not help them, and in a police report, the following was stated:
"The Rock Acadmey had asked her to wait and pray before filing a police report."
Estey said an internal administrative document also showed the Academy called a public relations crisis team prior to calling the police department.
"Obviously, safety of the children is supposed to be priority 1; it doesn't appear it was," said Estey.
Mark Stevens with the Rock Church responded to Team 10's request for an interview with this statement:
"As we have previously stated, we are deeply saddened by this situation and disappointed that it has materialized in this action. Since we had alerted the police more than two years ago of what we thought was inappropriate behavior that led to the teacher's immediate firing from the Academy, we fully cooperated with the investigation. At no time was the Rock Church aware of these activities prior to taking action and informing the authorities in accordance with state law. The Academy and the Church are fully committed to protecting the children in our care. While we cannot comment further on the investigation or the related civil legal situation, we do ask for everyone to pray for the families and for God's comfort and healing during this difficult time."
The allegations surfaced almost two years ago, but the case will go before a judge in April.
The identity of the accused teacher is not being revealed because he has not been charged.
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