As Golden prepares for his court date, his former principal at Traina, Susan Moffitt, has been placed on administrative paid leave from her job as principal of Tenaya Elementary School in Groveland.
Groveland Unified School District Superintendent Dave Urquhart said on Thursday, Dec. 5, that the trustees of his district unanimously directed him during a closed-session meeting on Nov. 19 to place Moffitt on leave.
“She’s out on a temporary basis,” he said, and her return has not been clarified by the trustees.
Urquhart declined to comment about why the board made the decision, as it involved personnel issues. He said her leave began Monday, Dec. 2.
According Ben Denson, the grandfather of a Tenaya kindergartner, Moffitt’s leave was the result of the Tenaya parents’ outcry for her removal as principal.
Denson said many parents became upset after hearing about Moffitt’s testimony before a San Joaquin County Grand Jury that indicted Golden in early August.
Golden is accused of 21 counts of lewd acts upon a child, 11 counts of molesting a child and one count of continuous sexual abuse of a child.
Moffitt, who told the jury she was the Traina School administrator between 2004 and 2012, testified that she first talked with Golden about inappropriate behavior at the beginning of the 2005-06 school year, shortly after he became a second-grade teacher, followed by other incidents up to 2012.
“She didn’t do what she was supposed to do, and 14 kids were molested by this guy,” Denson said. “There were a whole lot of people in that school (Traina) deferred to this guy and they didn’t report it. It wasn’t just Moffitt. She was ultimately responsible — she was principal at that school.”
He and a group of four other Tenaya parents approached the Groveland trustees about Moffitt’s employment.
“I didn’t want to be a leader on this,” he said. “I didn’t want to be on the forefront, but I think right is right and wrong is wrong. Somebody has to take the battle to the board — nobody else was doing it. When people trust their children to your care, you can’t do half measures. What she did was violate the public trust.”
One Traina parent, Lori Hunter, whose children were not victimized, said she spoke to Tenaya parents about Moffitt. She said they told her they “didn’t feel they could trust the safety of their children in her hands.”
“They wanted her gone,” Hunter said. “The fact that a principal knew, flat-out knew, that there were multiple allegations against the man, and the gall that she didn’t know she was a mandated reporter (to police) — it’s infuriating. It makes me so angry. She aided and abetted a pedophile.”
Golden, held in San Joaquin County Jail on $22 million bail, is scheduled for a further arraignment hearing at 8:30 a.m. Monday, Dec. 9, in Department 35 in San Joaquin Superior Court in Stockton
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