School Sex Probe Probed

The teacher sex scandals at Helix Charter High School took center stage at a school board meeting Thursday night. 

Dozens of parents, teachers and students attended the meeting, which focused on a report by private investigator Robert Price, who works for a San Diego-based company called ESI International. Price was hired to look into how Helix staff members handled each allegation of sexual abuse between 2006 and 2008. During that time, four teachers were arrested and convicted of sexual misconduct with students. 

"There are laws that apply to the reporting of suspected sexual abuse of students that had not been complied with completely,"Price said. 

Price added that staff members were slow to report the allegations to authorities, including Child Protective Services and local law enforcement. 

Helix High Principal Doug Smith, however, defended the actions of his his staff. 

"Nothing could be farther from the truth -- the Helix staff is trained and works on a continuous basis with county CPS and law enforcement on student-protection issues," Smith told district board members. 

Parents also defended the principal and his staff, and some called the private investigation a witch hunt. 

"As a writer, I'm incredulous to why a report that [claims] to be professionally written contains opinions and hearsay," Lauren Gillihan said.

Grossmont Union High School District board members said the investigation was necessary to find out if staff members mishandled any of the sexual misconduct cases. They want staff members to provide evidence that each case was handled correctly and in a timely manner. The board agreed to send school staff members what's called a Cure and Correct letter, which formally demands more information. 

"I'm desperately looking for answers, and to simply say, 'Bad things happen but we got it fixed now,' does not address the fundamental questions of what happened before," board president Robert Shield said.

If the Helix staff does not provide the answers, Shield said it could possibly lead to the school having its charter revoked.

Contact Us