FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 21ST, 2018

A juvenile court judge sentenced a former Palo Alto High School student to 60 days in Santa Clara County Juvenile Hall on Aug. 24 for sexually assaulting an underaged female Paly student in 2016. The student has been accused of several accounts of sexual assault and was convicted of felony charges, including rape, on Aug. 6.

The student was taken to juvenile hall promptly after the sentencing that took place in the Juvenile Justice Courthouse in San Jose, Calif.

Last fall, knowledge of sexual assault allegations against the then-Paly senior first surfaced in a KTVU Fox 2 video story, which included statements from two alleged victims of sexual misconduct. The victims provided graphic accounts to KTVU of their assault, which occured in a Paly bathroom and a local church bathroom. The assailant was charged with having consenual underaged sex as a result of the on-campus incident and was convicted of forced oral copulation, a felony and now under appeal, for the church bathroom incident. 

Because the student did not commit sexual assault “at any time on school grounds”, according to California Education Code 48900, the student was not legally eligible for suspension or expulsion from school. Additionally, because the student was a minor at the time, his identity was concealed under the protection of Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).

The District, however, was aware of the allegation and said administrators took appropriate disciplinary action against the student, according to a statement made by PAUSD Spokesman Jorge Quintana, published in a KTVU story. The student was put on probation and required to adhere to a restraining order and pay restitution to the victim.

The lack of transparency in the District’s management of the allegations led to much of the harsh appraisal from the community, as parents and students were confused and frustrated by the student being allowed to remain in school without their knowledge.

According to the District and school administration, the student was permitted to continue attending class due to protection from FERPA, which conceals the education records of minors. However, after days of public outrage, the student voluntarily decided to permanently leave the school due to threats to his safety, according to former Principal Kim Diorio.  

The student has since attended an out-of-state rehabilitation program where he has received schooling and therapy. He will attend college in San Jose this fall.

According to a story published on Palo Alto Online, the student will be required to continue attending the sex offender treatment he is now in after his release from juvenile hall. The student will be placed on probation once he is released; meanwhile, he will be allowed to leave juvenile hall to attend therapy at the discretion of the probation department.

The article will be updated as more information becomes available.

About The Author

Shannon Zhao
Senior Staff Writer

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