Marin Academy, the elite private high school in San Rafael, fired a longtime teacher over allegations of "inappropriate relationships" with three girl students about 30 years ago, administrators announced Thursday.
The school referred its findings to the San Rafael Police Department, which confirmed Thursday night that it has opened a criminal investigation into "possible sexual misconduct."
Neither the school nor the police department identified the teacher, who has not been arrested. Katie Pfeiffer, director of communications for the school, said he had worked there for 35 years.
The school declined to provide details about the alleged misconduct or where it occurred, but released the following statement:
"We recently learned that a teacher at Marin Academy was apparently involved in inappropriate relationships with students some 30 years ago. As soon as we became aware of the allegations, we brought in independent counsel to investigate. He confronted the individual, who admitted to conduct which constituted an unacceptable betrayal of trust with three former female students. We have notified the appropriate authorities and terminated his employment. We also instructed him to have no contact with students or anyone else in the Marin Academy community.
"Because these matters are now in the hands of the authorities, we are not able to discuss the details of these allegations. We will cooperate fully with their investigation
and keep you informed as we learn more.
"We are grateful to the individual who made us aware of this situation. While this happened a long time ago, we were outraged to learn that someone on our faculty apparently used his position to take advantage of students. We see the high school years as a critically important time. Protecting students and creating a safe, nurturing learning environment is our highest priority.
"We are in the process of communicating with our students and their parents. We want to make sure they understand how important it is to talk to school authorities or the police if they have any information whatsoever or if they have ever been the victim of abuse or misconduct. We also are looking closely at our internal policies and procedures to make sure we are doing what we can to prevent something like this from ever happening again."
The school notified the San Rafael Police Department on Wednesday, and an investigation was initiated, said police spokeswoman Margo Rohrbacher.
Anyone with information is asked to contact police Detective Justin Graham at 485-3026 or Detective Sgt. Michael Vergara at 485-3195.
New student orientation is set to begin next week at the 400-student school, with classes beginning on Aug. 28. The tuition for the 2012--13 school year is $36,080.
Pfeiffer said the incident will not result in canceled courses.
"We are still working out the details, but we have hired additional teachers so our full class offerings will be available," she said. ------ (c)2012 The Marin Independent Journal (Novato, Calif.) Visit The Marin Independent Journal (Novato, Calif.) at www.marinij.com Distributed by MCT Information Services