Orange County District Attorney Press Release
For Immediate Release: January 28, 2013
Contacts: Susan Kang Schroeder, Chief of Staff, Office: 714-347-8408, Cell: 714-292-2718; Farrah Emami, Spokesperson, Office: 714-347-8405, Cell: 714-323-4486
SANTA ANA – A middle school math teacher was sentenced today for failing to report the possible sexual assault of an 11-year-old student. Gail Foley, 58, Tustin, was found guilty by a jury Jan. 15, 2013, of one misdemeanor count of failing to timely report child abuse. The court sentenced the defendant to one year of probation and 20 hours of community service. The People advocated in a sentencing brief that Foley be sentenced to 30 days in jail, three years of probation, and 80 hours of community service.
Foley began teaching in 1981 and had been working in the Tustin Unified School District since 1994. At the time of the crime, Foley was a math teacher at Utt Middle School in Tustin.
California law requires school teachers to report all instances of known or reasonably suspected child abuse immediately or as soon as practicably possible by telephone. Foley knew that she was a mandatory reporter, as she was required by the school district to participate in annual training that covered the issue. Every year, training participants are given a written notice of responsibility, procedures for reporting, and possible punishment for non-compliance with the law. Foley signed annually an acknowledgement that she read this material.
On May 30, 2012, Foley was overseeing a detention session after school. An 11-year-old female student told the defendant that she was being sexually assaulted by a relative in her home. Foley instructed the child to write a statement detailing the abuse. The defendant then went to look for a school counselor, but when she could not locate the counselor or other administrators, she sent the child home without reporting the potential sexual abuse.
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.
During the jury trial, Foley’s defense argued that the defendant’s job was “numbers” and not “kids.” 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.
The Tustin Police Department investigated this case. Deputy District Attorney Nicholas Miller prosecuted this case.
Tony Rackauckas, District Attorney
401 Civic Center Drive West
Santa Ana, CA 92701