Editor’s Note: The following piece is about Palo Alto High School alumna “Lauren,” a pseudonym created by the Palo Alto Weekly to preserve her privacy, and “Sean,” Lauren’s ex-boyfriend, whose name was also changed by the Weekly. The Paly Voice corresponded with Lauren to ensure that the statement was her own.
Palo Alto High School alumna “Lauren” shared an anonymous personal statement on Tumblr today regarding her alleged sexual relation with a former Paly English teacher.
Lauren’s statement, publicized through Facebook, has served to share her side of this story — one that she feels has been ignored thus far. In her statement, Lauren “denied any inappropriate actions” with former Paly English teacher Kevin Sharp.
“I have decided to release my own statement detailing what really happened, from my point of view,” she begins.
She said how “Sean,” her ex-boyfriend, “tried to overlay fictitious intentions over innocuous actions,” specifically with regard to grooming, “the process by which an individual, usually an adult, becomes close with a victim by connecting over common interests and gaining trust before pushing the relationship into inappropriate sexual territory.” Lauren addresses grooming in her statement: “This is a real issue and I don’t mean to discredit it or any of its real victims. I, however, am not one of those victims.”
Lauren also stated that Sean made sexual advances towards her when the two were not romantically involved, “saying he felt he needed to feel close to me or he would want to go to PAUSD administers despite the fact that we were both legal adults and neither of us were students in the district anymore.”
She also indicates communication failures during investigations led by Assistant Supt. for Human Resources Scott Bowers and attorneys from Fagen, Friedman & Fulfrost.
“I hope that those in the story don’t feel attacked,” Lauren communicated to The Paly Voice. “I did my best to tell the story in the least accusatory way I could, trying to focus on simply what happened. I don’t want anyone to look bad or feel like this is a blow at them. I don’t want to ruin lives or cause drama.”
Lauren told The Paly Voice that she seeks to tell the community a new perspective, rather than generate discussion.
“I want people to read and know, and that’s it,” she said. “I don’t want to inspire discussion, or even shows of support. This is, at its core, an incredibly private thing.”
In October, the Weekly published a package, including a timeline, news piece and editorial, regarding the case against Sharp. The case itself began on Sept. 22, 2014, when Lauren’s parents first spoke with Paly Assistant Principal Kathie Laurence about the allegations, according to the Weekly’s timeline.
Lauren told The Paly Voice she had good intent when publishing her statement.
“This is not a call to arms, nor a war declaration, but rather a simple attempt to express a truth that has yet to be heard,” Lauren said in her statement.