Firm to share findings of sexual assault investigation

Jevan Yu, Editor-in-Chief

Supt. Max McGee and Board of Education trustees listen to community members Tuesday night at the District Office's Aspen Room.
Palo Alto Unified School District Supt. Max McGee and Board of Education trustees listen to community members before moving to hire Cozen O’Connor to investigate staff handling of sexual assault allegations.

The law firm investigating staff handling of last school year’s sexual assault allegations at Palo Alto High School plans to publicly present its findings at a meeting this Thursday.

The Palo Alto Unified School District Board of Education decided to hire the firm — Cozen O’Connor — last May in a closed session meeting. Following that meeting, board President Terry Godfrey said that Cozen O’Connor would “provide a report to the board to assist in further evaluation of the superintendent, his performance and to aid the district in addressing any Title IX or other issues.”

The board discussed the findings of the investigation in a closed-session meeting on Sept. 13.

The allegations publicly surfaced on May 11, when KTVU aired a segment detailing the experiences of two local female students, both of whom accused the same male Paly student of sexual assault. One accused the male of sexual assault in a school bathroom, and the other accused him of sexual assault in a local church.

Until May 16, when the male student’s lawyer said he had elected to leave Paly, he remained enrolled at the school.

Since the segment aired on May 11, district and school officials have offered limited information about the cases, citing the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act.

Community members can attend the meeting from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Thursday at the district office.