Team 10 investigates delayed abuse report by school officials

Emails show district waited days to tell police

SAN DIEGO - Team 10 learned a San Diego Unified School District employee made a sexually inappropriate remark to a 9-year-old girl. Now, questions are being raised about why the district waited to tell police.

Angelica Figueroa, 11, attended Florence Elementary School in Hillcrest last year.

She attended the before and after school program called "6 to 6."

"I'm very glad that he didn't make those remarks to me, but I'm also very upset he made them to my best friend," said Figueroa.

Emails given to Team 10 show a 27-year-old school employee in the 6 to 6 program whispered in a 9-year-old girl's ear, "You have harry [sic] boobs."

Figueroa had heard about what happened to her best friend.

"That's very inappropriate for someone to say that to a little girl," she said.

Emails from school police show the 9-year-old told her father, who called the principal.

The principal told the subcontract employee to leave the school campus and not come back. Emails show the employee came back three school days later.

The girl's father accused the school of not doing anything about the situation and threatened to call 10News.

Police were not called about the incident until the following day.

Team 10 wanted to know why if the principal was told about the incident on a Friday she waited to tell police until that Wednesday after the employee had come back. Under state law, suspected child abuse must be reported to law enforcement or child protective services.

Child abuse advocate Sally Smith said the district knows better.

"That was frightening for that child," she said. "That principal should have reported it to the San Diego Police Department and didn't. That has been the practice of the school district for decades."

It appears the police department has questions too. An email from the San Diego Police Department to Joseph Florentino at the school district reads: "Has direction been given to the admin folks about what they need to call your department for?"

It goes on to say, "This is exactly the kind of delayed reporting that puts both of our departments in a bad spot."

Florentino writes back he will request an appointment on the superintendent's calendar and keep police posted.

Figueroa's grandmother does not understand how this could happen.

"If the situation happened and the child brought it up, the police should have been notified," she said.

A spokeswoman for the San Diego Unified School District said she is reviewing the incident from May.

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