Presentation High Launches Investigation Into Allegations of Past Sexual Abuse

Presentation High School in San Jose announced Thursday it is launching a full investigation into allegations of past sexual abuse nearly two years after NBC Bay Area broke the story.

The school's new president said the prestigious all-girls Catholic school needs an external investigation so the community can heal.

More than a dozen former students have accused school officials of dismissing their complaints about sexual contact by faculty and staff. The allegations range from nearly three decades ago to as recently as 2017.

"It's something I, and thousands of community members, have been asking for for almost two years now," said Kathryn Leehane, a former student at Preservation High School. 

Leehane said that when she was a student at Preservation she was groped and shown pornographic material by her Spanish teacher. Leehane wasn't the only one, and that teacher wasn't the first to be accused. 

As it launches an investigation, Presentation High for the first time offered an apology to the victims, which is what many of the survivors NBC Bay Area spoke with say they were hoping for the whole time.

"It represented the first real apology that the other survivors and I, and the entire community, have received," Leehane said.

The school board has hired a Sacramento law firm for the investigation, and it should be completed by next summer. Holly Elkins, the new school board president, said that the findings of the investigation will be shared.

"I sincerely hope that Presentation will take the necessary steps to hold the enablers accountable for their role in this scandal," Leehane said.

Contact Us