Mater Dei Must Reveal Names in Abuse Cases

Times Staff Writer

Mater Dei High School officials must release the names of faculty and students involved in abuse allegations during a nine-year period ending in 1997, a judge ruled Thursday.

The ruling came in a lawsuit filed last year by a former student who alleges a coach at Mater Dei, a Roman Catholic school in Santa Ana, sexually abused her.

Orange County Superior Court Judge Jonathan H. Cannon limited the release of the student names to the lawyers involved in the case and ordered that their names remain secret. He asked lawyers for each side to agree on an independent third party to contact the alleged victims to ask if they would be willing to be interviewed by the attorneys.


Attorneys for the former student, called Jane C.R. Doe in legal papers, said the names were needed to determine how school officials handled allegations of sexual abuse.

(The Times does not identify victims of sexual abuse without their consent.)

During the hearing, Thomas M. Rutherford Jr., who represents Mater Dei and the Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange, argued that the information about other alleged victims was irrelevant to the lawsuit.

Venus Soltan, an attorney for the accuser, countered, “We need to know what the school did and what the diocese did to change [policies] when kids were abused,” she said.

Jane C.R. Doe filed her suit against the school, the diocese and former assistant basketball coach Jeff Andrade.

She alleges that she was molested for more than a year beginning at age 15. She said she was forced to have sex with Andrade in classrooms, his house, hotel rooms and his car. The alleged victim attended Mater Dei from 1994 to 1997.

Soltan said Mater Dei officials learned of the alleged molestation after a teacher intercepted a note passed between students.


But they failed to act, and the molestation continued for another year, Soltan said.

Soltan said she did not know how many students were allegedly abused while Andrade worked at the school but that five teachers were fired for misconduct with children while her client was a student.

The lawsuit is one of several filed in recent years against Mater Dei and teachers accused of sexually abusing students.

The school is nationally recognized for its academic achievements and athletics.