Former Traina principal put on leave at new school in Groveland
by Denise Ellen Rizzo
Dec 05, 2013 | 6867 views | 4 4 comments | 44 44 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Darrel James Golden, a 59-year-old fourth-grade teacher at Traina School, is due back in court Monday, Dec. 9, for a possible resolution to his child molestation charges.

As Golden prepares for his court date, his former principal at Traina, Susan Moffitt, has been placed on administrative paid leave from her job as principal of Tenaya Elementary School in Groveland.

Groveland Unified School District Superintendent Dave Urquhart said on Thursday, Dec. 5, that the trustees of his district unanimously directed him during a closed-session meeting on Nov. 19 to place Moffitt on leave.

“She’s out on a temporary basis,” he said, and her return has not been clarified by the trustees.

Urquhart declined to comment about why the board made the decision, as it involved personnel issues. He said her leave began Monday, Dec. 2.

According Ben Denson, the grandfather of a Tenaya kindergartner, Moffitt’s leave was the result of the Tenaya parents’ outcry for her removal as principal.

Denson said many parents became upset after hearing about Moffitt’s testimony before a San Joaquin County Grand Jury that indicted Golden in early August.

Golden 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, who told the jury she was the Traina School administrator between 2004 and 2012, testified that she first talked with Golden about inappropriate behavior at the beginning of the 2005-06 school year, shortly after he became a second-grade teacher, followed by other incidents up to 2012.

“She didn’t do what she was supposed to do, and 14 kids were molested by this guy,” Denson said. “There were a whole lot of people in that school (Traina) deferred to this guy and they didn’t report it. It wasn’t just Moffitt. She was ultimately responsible — she was principal at that school.”

He and a group of four other Tenaya parents approached the Groveland trustees about Moffitt’s employment.

“I didn’t want to be a leader on this,” he said. “I didn’t want to be on the forefront, but I think right is right and wrong is wrong. Somebody has to take the battle to the board — nobody else was doing it. When people trust their children to your care, you can’t do half measures. What she did was violate the public trust.”

One Traina parent, Lori Hunter, whose children were not victimized, said she spoke to Tenaya parents about Moffitt. She said they told her they “didn’t feel they could trust the safety of their children in her hands.”

“They wanted her gone,” Hunter said. “The fact that a principal knew, flat-out knew, that there were multiple allegations against the man, and the gall that she didn’t know she was a mandated reporter (to police) — it’s infuriating. It makes me so angry. She aided and abetted a pedophile.”

Golden, held in San Joaquin County Jail on $22 million bail, is scheduled for a further arraignment hearing at 8:30 a.m. Monday, Dec. 9, in Department 35 in San Joaquin Superior Court in Stockton

• Contact Denise Ellen Rizzo at 830-4225 or

Comments-icon Post a Comment
December 10, 2013
108MW, you’re criticizing the wrong district. Traina Elementary is in the Jefferson School District, not the Tracy Unified School District. Each has different administrators and a different board. The Tracy Press could help avoid this confusion by identifying the correct district each time there is a story about this case.
December 10, 2013
I honestly do not care which district it is. Highest levels of responsibility require highest levels of discipline. TUSD or Jefferson.
December 05, 2013
Not surprised to see that a "mandated reporter" Susan Moffitt (former Traina Principal) has now been removed from her new job as Principal at Tenaya Elementary. I am curious to learn what is going to happen now to some of the other mandated reporters at Traina and at the district-office. As mandated reporters, none of these educators and administrators had the option to delay reporting to police or CPS the events they had knowledge of, and neither did they have the ability to avoid their personal responsibility by simply reporting the events to their supervisors.

What happened here is not unlike the events that caused the ouster of the Merrill Grant, the former Brentwood Superintendent who was reportedly fired for failing to report a child abuse incident at one of the elementary schools he supervised.

Interesting too is the fact that the man who replaced that Brentwood Superintendent is the former Superintendent at Jefferson. I wonder whether the Brentwood school board is now going to remove or place on administrative leave another Superintendent for cause? They already are paying their former Superintendent $300K for salary and benefits through June 2014.

December 10, 2013
Apparently Moffitt filed complaints with TUSD which fell on deaf ears. Not only should she be held accountable for not calling police and CPS but I want to know who at the highest levels should have their heads rolling? ALL at TUSD who knew about this should have charges filed against them and their jobs hanging in the balance. Period

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