A second victim in the Moraga school sex abuse scandal, who sued the school district and three former district administrators claiming they failed to report suspicions of a former science teacher, has reached a $1.8 million settlement, her attorney said.

Jane Doe No. 3, now 30 and living in the Central Valley, sued the school district in January, claiming Daniel Witters sexually abused her repeatedly during the 1996-97 school year. The girl was a 13-year-old eighth-grader in Witters' Joaquin Moraga Intermediate School class.

She claimed the district and retired Principal Bill Walters, retired Assistant Principal Paul Simonin and retired Superintendent John Cooley failed to report at least two earlier student reports of Witters' sexual abuse, thus allowing her to be victimized by the teacher.

"This has been a lifelong struggle for me, and I'm glad they've finally recognized what I've gone through," Jane Doe No. 3 said in her first public statements, released through her attorney Judith Yedidsion. "School administrators and teachers need to realize that when a child alerts you of any hint of abuse, you have to listen and to take them seriously.

"My hope is that what has happened to me won't happen to another, and that my story can prevent this pattern of abuse from ever happening again in the future."

Her settlement follows the May agreement in which another former student of Witters, Cal women's swim coach Kristen Cunnane, who received a $2.85 million settlement. Two victims still have their civil suit pending.


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District Superintendent Bruce Burns confirmed that the district's insurance company reached the settlement with Jane Doe 3. He also apologized again to Jane Doe 3 and to other victims of the mid-1990s abuse.

The insurance company was given the authority to reach an agreement without board approval, Yedidsion said.

Investigative stories last year by this newspaper first alerted all four women to the district's failure to act on Witters' earlier abuse warnings or on numerous other student and parent complaints regarding inappropriate behavior.

"Had they done something I know she never would have been abused," Yedidsion said. "They were warned two years earlier by another student and they started a culture of indifference."

Jane Doe No. 3's claim depicts an emboldened Witters in his final months. While sitting in the back of his class, she claimed he would give her unwanted massages during class while she studied, which eventually led to him reaching under her shirt and unsnapping her bra.

She claimed he would whisper sexual comments into her ear and after class would get her alone and rub her skin underneath her pants and tops.

Physical education teacher Julie Correa overheard the girl speaking to a classmate in November 1996 about Witters kissing another student on the cheek, and she took the girl to the principal's office where she began to tell officials of her abuse, she claimed. More girls soon would come forward; Witters killed himself days after he was placed on administrative leave.

After Witters' death, the girl claimed she was ostracized by students and others in the community, Yedidsion said.

"As the case went on I think the district realized more and more the consequences Jane Doe No. 3 had in her life," Yedidsion said.

Contact Matthias Gafni at 925-952-5026. Follow him at Twitter.com/mgafni.