Northern California

Presentation High School's Board of Directors President Retiring, Group Alleges She Failed to Report Alleged Sexual Abuse

A former principal of Presentation High School in San Jose will retire as president of the school's board of directors at the end of the month, a spokesman for the school said Friday, in the wake of allegations by critics that she knew about sexual abuse at the school and failed to report it.

Marian Stuckey, who was the principal of Presentation High School from 1970 to 1977 and then again from 1984 to 1993 announced Friday that she is retiring from the board when her term comes to an end, spokesman Sam Singer said.

A group of Presentation High School alumnae, also known as Make Pres Safe, has alleged that sexual abuse and misconduct has spanned decades. That abuse seems to have begun in 1980, Make Pres Safe says on their "Timeline of Allegations" tab on the group's website.

Stuckey is named specifically in a case against former teacher John Fernandez from which a minor was allegedly repeatedly subjected to sexual misconduct for two years beginning in 1984.

Make Pres Safe alleges Stuckey knew about the abuse, which included inappropriate attention, touching, kissing and gifts, because of a letter to the administration. That letter was allegedly never responded to, and the case was never investigated, the alumnae group said.

A 15-year-old girl quit the junior varsity soccer team because of Fernandez's alleged misconduct, the group said, and Stuckey received a letter from her in 1991 that outlined the alleged abuse that took place during 1987 and 1988. That letter was allegedly not addressed either.

In 1990, a 16-year-old was allegedly sexually assaulted by Fernandez and told another student who notified a teacher. That teacher notified Stuckey, at which time Stuckey questioned the girl and suggested maybe she dreamt the assault, Make Pres Safe alleges.

The allegations against Stuckey by Make Pres Safe also include a case of a 17-year-old who said she was inappropriately touched and shown pornography by Fernandez. The abuse allegedly received no response, and in fact just two years later, Fernandez was awarded the title of "Teacher of the Year."

Stuckey said in a statement that she is honored she "helped so many generations of young girls become leaders in our society."

The former principal said that she hopes the school will continue improvements and in response to criticism, to improve education and training.

The statement gave a synopsis of efforts the school has made to ensure students are "safe in a superb educational institution."

Recently, Presentation High School instituted initiatives like a new Office of Prevention of Student Bullying, Harassment and Abuse, an independent committee to develop recommendations for practices on harassment and updates on training on mandatory reporting practices and procedures, Singer said.

Previously, Singer and current school principal Mary Miller, who also allegedly failed to report alleged harassment, used the words "deceptive" "fraudulent" and "damaging" to describe the Make Pres Safe allegations.

Make Pres Safe organizers said in a statement, "We are pleased the Sisters of the Presentation and the board of directors are finally taking meaningful action to ensure child safety is the top priority at Presentation High School.

"Marian Stuckey will go down in history as one of the worst enablers of sexual predators in Northern California. We hope she finds it in her heart to pray for and apologize to the decades of victims she hurt."

Make Pres Safe organizers said, "We look forward to additional resignations and/or retirements from school leadership."

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