Golden warned about behavior for years before arrest
by Denise Ellen Rizzo
Nov 22, 2013 | 9359 views | 20 20 comments | 35 35 recommendations | email to a friend | print
A San Joaquin County Sheriff deputy shackles Darrel James Golden to a bench in Department 35 of the San Joaquin Superior Court in Stockton at the start of his arraignment on Friday, Nov. 8.  Glenn Moore/Tracy Press
A San Joaquin County Sheriff deputy shackles Darrel James Golden to a bench in Department 35 of the San Joaquin Superior Court in Stockton at the start of his arraignment on Friday, Nov. 8. Glenn Moore/Tracy Press
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Former Traina School Principal Susan Moffitt was aware of inappropriate behavior by fourth-grade teacher Darrel Golden long before his Aug. 5 arrest for child molestation.

Testimony to the San Joaquin County Grand Jury by other Traina teachers and Moffitt herself reveals a number of on-campus incidents, including Golden massaging a fourth-grade boy and dancing provocatively toward a female student.

The 59-year-old fourth-grade teacher is accused of 21 counts of lewd acts upon a child, 11 counts of molesting a child and one count of continuous sexual abuse of a child.

Moffitt testified before the grand jury Aug. 2 about incidents involving Golden and his students while he taught both second and fourth grades.

Moffitt, who told the panel she was the school administrator between 2004 and 2012, first talked with Golden about inappropriate behavior at the beginning of the 2005-06 school year, shortly after he became a second-grade teacher.

The principal warned him about swearing in front of his students and how to address a child hugging him, according to the grand jury report.

Moffitt testified that she told Golden, “Male teachers are highly scrutinized. If some little kid comes up to you and they run at you, you don’t want to go, ‘Eww, get away from me.’ You need to make every effort to have them to your side, because that’s the safest place for you and the way it looks in the community and for them, because you are a male teacher, and this is our society. That’s how it is.”

First reports of molestation

The first evidence Golden had allegedly molested someone came in November 2006.

Grand jury witness Jane Doe No. 10 told the panel that Golden touched her vagina while she was in his classroom for a school project.

Moffitt confirmed the report and testified that before the incident, Golden had approached her about Jane Doe No. 10 acting too friendly toward him. He had said the girl was poking him in the belly and pulling on his tie.

Moffitt testified that she told Golden to arrange a meeting with the child’s parents and warned him, “You are not to be alone with kids in the classroom at all, with no one there.”

Moffitt then told the grand jury that she was contacted in August 2010 by a male student’s parents, who accused Golden of inappropriately touching the boy’s skin in the classroom.

The principal reported confronting Golden.

“I said, ‘Darrel, do you not understand how weird that is as a parent,’” Moffitt told the grand jury. “I’m weirded out by it. Why, why would you do that?”

She testified that Golden told her he did it because his son had lizard-like skin and he was doing a comparison.

Moffitt explained to the jury that she told him, “Darrel, that doesn’t matter. You don’t touch them. You don’t touch the kids.”

Teachers disturbed by Golden’s behavior

A fellow fourth-grade teacher, Stephen Day, testified to the grand jury that he talked with Golden dozens of times about Golden’s conduct with students and what Day called “bad judgment.”

“Mr. Golden, he just had a knack for using bad judgment,” Day reported to the grand jury. “I felt like it was a constant reminder. I felt like it was a reflection on me and other male teachers that you had to take those extra steps.”

Day also testified, “It seemed like on a regular basis I would walk by and he would be in with students and the door would be closed. I would just push it open and smile and walk on.”

Day told the grand jury that he once opened Golden’s closed classroom door and saw a female student sitting on the teacher’s lap. The child was later confirmed to be grand jury witness Jane Doe No. 1.

“He (Golden) was having lunch in his room with some of his students, which was a regular thing,” Day testified. “It’s a big reward for the kids.”

“I walked over and I just looked at him and said, ‘What are you doing?’”

Day testified that Golden threw up his hands and made a gesture that he didn’t know what to do. Day reported that he told Golden that he was the adult and needed to take control of the situation. Day then turned and walked out, according to the grand jury report.

Day testified that he never reported the incident to Moffitt, the principal, because he “wanted to support a colleague.”

Seventh-grade teacher Luz Venegas testified that in March 2012, she saw Golden dancing provocatively toward a student in his classroom.

Venegas said it was during a program called Reading Buddies, when her seventh-graders went to Golden’s class to read with his fourth-graders.

While the students were being paired up for their reading lesson, one girl was left without a buddy. Venegas described for the grand jury what occurred next.

“He (Golden) called to the student, dancing, and said, ‘Come to me. Come to me. Oh, I don’t bite. Oh, maybe just twice a little.’”

When Venegas approached him about his actions, she testified, Golden looked down at her chest and told the student, “See, she’s not fully covered. I already bit her.”

Venegas told the grand jury the girl looked at her fearfully, so she took her into the hallway, away from Golden.

The seventh-grade teacher discussed the incident with another teacher and then reported it to Moffitt and wrote a letter to Jefferson Elementary School District human resources officials, according to her testimony.

Principal’s response

Moffitt testified that she discussed the dancing incident with Golden and told him, “I don’t even know where you’re going with this.”

Moffitt recalled saying, “Darrel, do you not understand that the dance that you did in front of all those students was just inappropriate? You used very poor judgment. Why would you dance like that? That’s just disgusting,” according to the grand jury report.

She testified that when she told Golden she was going to write him up, he told her he was going to get representation.

Moffitt reported Golden to the director of human resources and district Superintendent Dana Eaton, according to her testimony, and all of her actions were based on their orders.

As principal, she tried to “keep an eye” on Golden with periodic checks to his room, according to her testimony. She testified that she never witnessed any misconduct.

Moffitt left Traina before the 2012-13 school year to become principal of Tenaya Elementary School in Groveland.

Golden was suspended from teaching at Traina after a school custodian reported seeing him touch the buttocks of a 9-year-old girl Nov. 28, 2012.

Golden is scheduled to return to San Joaquin County Superior Court for further arraignment at 8:30 a.m. Dec. 9. Case Deputy District Attorney Elton Grau said he is in discussions with Golden’s attorney and they might have a resolution to the case at that time.

Golden is in custody in San Joaquin County Jail on $22 million bail.

• Contact Denise Ellen Rizzo at 830-4225 or drizzo@tracypress.com.

 
Comments
(20)
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fortheunderdog
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November 29, 2013
If the former principal of Traina School knew of Golden's inappropriate behavior 2005-2006 he should have been an unemployed teacher in 2007. The school board is responsible for Golden remaining on the payroll. His remaining as a teach for this long is just unbelievable.
ConcernedParents
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November 28, 2013
The Superintendent had sole responsibility for the situation and should have called the police as soon as the molestation was reported to him. Dana Eaton-as superintendent, was in charge and failed the children. Seems Mr. Eaton is not with Jefferson School District anymore, where is he? Let's hope he's not responsible for the safety of children, ever again.
mommyofthree
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November 26, 2013
Man oh man.... The Tracy school district(s) and the city as a whole will hide things for as long as they can because they do not want a bad name. It happened when West High was open for a couple years (talking about the school district) and it just recently happened at Tracy. Not talking about certain issues or educating teachers and students on a certain matter. BECAUSE they do not want to deal with any issues that make them look bad, especially if that certain issue is right there in their school. If you have a problem, you have to "deal" with it right? Not them.... Ignorance is bliss.
Ornley_Gumfudgen
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November 25, 2013
We need ta understand that this ain't just a simple breakin of school rules. It's a crime and should have been treated as such at th first opportunity. That's what we have police fer an they should have been notified by School employees, principal and parents. Th school board an principal are not law enforcement. It's what we have th police fer so these thangs don't get swept under th run an allowed ta fester, apparently fer several years.
TracyCitizen
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November 22, 2013
Quite a few people failed these kids who were molested. Moffitt, Day, the school board and maybe even the parents who did not immediately call the police.
Sueintracy
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November 22, 2013
The principal went to the school board in '06 about this guy. The school board is to blame for their ignorance and lack of action. The principal's hands are tied. She cannot hire or fire. She did the right thing. Again, the school board is to blame. That principal is an amazing, caring human being. She did her best.
shelly13
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November 22, 2013
Her best? She should have alerted police too. Sorry but kids are more important than what her supposed "best" was. The whole thing was handled poorly from several angles and in the end many children suffered needlessly.
shelly13
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November 22, 2013
Some of the responsibility also lies with the original victims parents. Who lets this stay within the school only and does not call the police for a full REAL investigation? Sorry but my first call would have been the police and second call goes to the school.
Sueintracy
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November 22, 2013
Right you are.
proud-mom
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November 22, 2013
Stephen Day should be fired as well. As a parent, I expect all teachers to have my childs back and to protect them. Shame on you, Mr Day!!!!
Tracyparent
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November 22, 2013
Before you are too quick to blame the principal, remember what the teacher had on his side: tenure and union representation. It is next to impossible for administrations to do anything with bad teachers when these factors are in play. So sad.
Sueintracy
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November 22, 2013
You are so right.
vassily
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November 22, 2013
Unions don't protect child molesters. All unions do is ensure teachers receive due process which requires an administrator to fire for cause. There was certainly cause in this case. No union would defend the right of a child molester to be around children for crying out loud. Administrators like to blame unions as a cover for their own incompetence and unwillingness to exercise their professional responsibility. Obviously the police should have been contacted and the teacher put on administrative leave immediately pending the investigation. Written as a proud member of the CTA.
eyeswideopen2
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November 22, 2013
I see the pricipal being arrested and many many multimillion dollar lawsuits all of which will be settled out of court.
eyeswideopen2
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November 22, 2013
More to follow
Nicki2
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November 22, 2013
Someone explain to me why the heck this principal is still working at another school and hasn't been charged with anything? It seems to me she should be charged with something since she knew about things that had been happening for 8 freaking years.
bobrod
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November 22, 2013
Ya-welcome to the TUSD.....they would rather sweep anything that gives them a bad name under the rug. If anyone remembers, they don't even have a system or a form to report staff for misconduct. There is also no tracking system or way to find out if there was any disciplinary action.......
DunkMan
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November 22, 2013
BobRod -- Surprised to see you placing blame on Tracy Unified School District. You must be new to town if you think they have any involvement here.

Steve
bobrod
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November 25, 2013
Dunkman, If the school principal and staff knew about prior complaints, then so should have the District, and the police. If that is true then all if the District employees who Knew about the incident(s) in question failed to report a CRIME(s) involving a FELLOW employee. The "District" should have acted because the Principal should have reported it to them. They all failed those kids. If Traina is in a district other than TUSD then who I mean is whatever district. I have exerience with TUSD, and know how they operate.
bobrod
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November 25, 2013
If Traina is in the other district, what is it-Jefferson? Then all that tells me is now there are two Districts in Tracy that have inadequate staff misconduct reporting systems, great.....By the way, not new to tracy-have lived here most of my life, since before there were tract homes anywhere near Corral Hollow. Family and friends kids all went to Tracy schools. Like most people, I have a real problem with any form of government failing to take action on a misconduct issue no matter what level they may be. Even a school district-no matter which one.


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