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Mater Dei loses second ruling

Times Staff Writer

Reaffirming a previous court decision contested by Mater Dei High School, an Orange County Superior Court judge ruled this week that the school must release information about allegations of sexual misconduct between teachers and students during a 10-year period ending in 1997.

The ruling Thursday was part of a 2005 lawsuit filed by a former student who alleged that former Mater Dei assistant basketball coach Jeff Andrade sexually abused her for a year, beginning when she was 15.

Andrade admitted he had sexual intercourse with the girl, according to court documents.

Orange County Superior Court Judge Jonathan H. Cannon ruled that the Santa Ana school had to provide the documents about any alleged incident during the period Andrade worked at the school. The student’s lawyers had argued that allegations could show a pattern of high school administrators covering up sexual abuse.

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Cannon ruled in May that the school had to release the information, but the school fought the ruling. “They wanted to withhold documents about what was going on at the school,” said attorney Vince Finaldi, who represents the student.

Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange spokesman Ryan Lilyengren and Mater Dei attorney Thomas Rutherford declined to comment.

Rutherford had previously argued that the accuser’s attorneys were abusing the discovery process in the lawsuit to gain irrelevant information.

The sexual-abuse suit is one of several filed in recent years involving Mater Dei, one of the largest parochial schools in the country and a national academic and athletic powerhouse.

The former student alleges she was forced to have sex with Andrade in classrooms, hotel rooms, his house and his car. The Times does not identify victims of sexual abuse without their consent.

Under Thursday’s ruling, the names of the students and alleged perpetrators will be omitted, and available only if they opt to speak with attorneys for the student or the school after being contacted by a court intermediary.

Attorneys for the plaintiff have argued that the school administration reacted slowly to evidence that indicated a sexual relationship between the student and coach.

jennifer.delson@latimes.com

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