The Superintendent of the San Diego Unified School District took the witness stand Wednesday in a civil case filed against the district.
The district is being sued for the alleged wrongful termination of an investigator looking into a sexual assault incident involving two kindergartners.
Superintendent Cindy Marten testified for more than an hour, saying she absolutely did not try to protect the district and an elementary school principal from negative publicity.
In May 2013, in the bathroom at Green Elementary School in San Carlos, a kindergarten boy pulled down another kindergarten boy’s pants and sexually assaulted him.
The investigator assigned to the case, Michael Gurrieri, says he uncovered other incidents of abuse at Green, and the principal did not do anything about them and did not keep the school safe for all children.
Gurrieri says he was wrongfully fired because he balked at removing the allegations and witness interviews from his report, as suggested by his supervisors. That includes Carmina Duran, who is specifically named in the civil suit.
The plaintiff’s attorney, Mark Radi, asked Marten if she thought the incident with the kindergartners was serious. She said, “yes, that’s a serious incident.”
But Radi pointed out that in Martin’s deposition, she answered the same question by saying, “It’s an incident, those types of incidents happened.” That was followed later in the deposition by, “It depends.“
Defense attorney Michael Sullivan asked Marten if she ever suggested to anyone at the district that Gurrieri‘s report should be a whitewash.
Martin answered, “Absolutely not, of course not.”
Sullivan also showed the jury a series of emails that he says shows the district was concerned the parent’s of the victim did not think the report was accurate. In one email Marten writes “We can’t file a report that’s wrong.”