A jury earlier this month convicted a middle school math teacher for failing to report the possible sexual assault of an 11-year-old student. Despite the Orange County District Attorney's office seeking 30 days in jail, three years of probation and 80 hours of community service for Gail Foley, 58, of Tustin, the judge sentenced her to a just a year's probation and 20 hours of service time.
Under state law, educators are required to immediately inform police about suspected or confirmed abuse of children. But after the girl informed Foley on May 30, 2012, that she was being sexually assaulted by a relative in her home, the teacher instructed the student to write down what had happened.
Foley then went to find a school counselor or other administrators but found none--and then sent the child back home without reporting the potential sexual abuse. Without ever having called police or county Social Services, Foley finally reported the suspected abuse to a counselor the next day. Social Services and Tustin Police would launch investigations.
The defendant failed to call 911, contact the police or social services, or report the potential abuse in any way. Foley finally reported the possible abuse to a school counselor the following day and the Orange County Social Services Agency was immediately contacted.
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During trial, "Foley's defense argued that the defendant's job was 'numbers' and not 'kids,'" reads a DA statement on the conviction. "The defendant testified and claimed that her responsibility was solely to report possible abuse to a school counselor, and therefore, she believed she acted appropriately, despite failing to contact police or social services."
A teacher since 1981 and Tustin Unified School District employee since 1994. Foley was teaching at Utt Middle School at the time of the crime. A jury on Jan. 15 found her guilty of one misdemeanor count of failing to timely report child abuse.
She presumably understands the law now.