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Catholic school sued over alleged up-skirt video

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POSTED May 16, 2014 8:29 p.m.

SAN MATEO  (AP) — Students at a San Francisco Bay Area all-boys Catholic school that counts Barry Bonds and Tom Brady among its alumni regularly harassed female instructors and competed to get up-skirt videos of them, and school officials did not do enough to stop them, according to a lawsuit filed by a female teacher.

Kimberly Bohnert, a teacher at Junipero Serra High School in San Mateo, says she was targeted in sexually explicit graffiti and tweets two years ago and later learned she was a victim of an up-skirt video that circulated among students. Other female instructors were also sexually harassed by students, she says.

“I’m hoping for the administration to recognize the seriousness of the issue, and I’m hoping the school makes some real change to make Serra a better place and to allow these boys to be in a culture that respects one another,” Bohnert told the Contra Costa Times.

She filed the lawsuit on Thursday against the school and the Roman Catholic Diocese of San Francisco. Bohnert, who went on leave last May, is seeking back pay and unspecified general and punitive damages.

She said the school’s principal, Barry Thornton, informed her in May 2013 that a rumor was circulating that someone had filmed under her skirt. She confirmed the rumor with students, she said.

School President Lars Lund said the incident was tragic but did not reflect what was taught at the school.

“We felt a deep level of compassion for the teacher,” he said. “We immediately contacted the San Mateo Police Department and fully cooperated with them during our mutual investigations.”

Six students were expelled and another six suspended, the Contra Costa Times reported. Six juveniles were referred to the San Mateo County Juvenile Probation Department, police Sgt. David Norton said.

Bohnert said administrators only contacted police because she said she was going to the station. She also accused them of minimizing the experience of female teachers at the school in letters to parents about the expulsions.

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