​​For release on July 10, 2012

CONTACT:
Alison Filo, Deputy District Attorney
Sexual Assault Unit
(408) 792-2891

SAN JOSE PRINCIPAL CHARGED FOR FAILING TO REPORT ALLEGED SEX MOLEST   A San Jose school principal was criminally charged Tuesday, July 10, 2012, for failing to contact authorities after learning that a second-grade girl may have been sexually molested by her teacher in the class room.   Months after Lyn Vijayendran determined through her own “investigation” that no crime had been committed, a police investigation found four more girls at O.B. Whaley Elementary School who are believed to have been molested. One girl was allegedly molested weeks after the principal learned of the first allegation without notifying police.   Vijayendran, 36, faces a misdemeanor charge for her failure to report child abuse. An arraignment has yet to be scheduled. If convicted, she faces up to six months in jail.   “The clear legal responsibility for professionals who hear these terrible allegations is not to call meetings, it is to call 9-1-1,’’ said Alison Filo, who is prosecuting the case. “Mandatory reporting laws are on the books to protect our kids.”      The law requires that, among others, school administrators, teachers, doctors, nurses, therapists and social workers contact authorities if they know, or reasonably suspect, that a child has been the victim of abuse. Experts say the law was created to make sure molesters do not go undetected, are not allowed to hurt more children and that untrained civilians do not undermine a criminal investigation.   An investigation revealed that in October, 2011, the principal was given clear evidence that Craig Chandler, a teacher, had sexually assaulted a student. The information triggered the principal’s duty under the law to contact authorities. Instead of calling police, the administrator interviewed the girl, taking notes. She asked the girl’s mother to bring in a jacket she was wearing which had a suspicious stain. The administrator told the mother the stain was not important. The mother took it back and washed it, destroying potential DNA evidence. The administrator also interviewed the teacher, potentially undermining an investigation.   In January, 2012, while Vijayendran was on maternity leave, another parent came forward to complain that her daughter had been molested by Chandler about the time of Christmas break. San Jose police were called. The investigation found a total of five children who reported evidence of molestations by the teacher. Chandler is charged with five felony counts of lewd and lascivious acts on a child under 14.   ###

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