Matt Valenti, who has been battling San Diego Junior Theatre board over laxity in sex-with-minors incidents, filed suit in Superior Court this month to force the city to turn over documents he requested long ago.
"The City of San Diego has refused to release public records that show a history and pattern of sexual assault and other physical abuse committed by adults employed by the San Diego Junior Theatre against children entrusted to them," charges the suit. Despite providing copious information, Valenti has not gotten San Diego authorities to recognize the problem.
Even after Eric von Metzke, a longtime teacher at the children's theater, was sentenced in June to three years in prison for having sex with an underaged girl, city agencies have done nothing about the matter, and the board of the theater remains the same.
Valenti notes that two deputy city attorneys, Catherine Morrison and Joan Dawson, are on the Junior Theatre board. At a meeting in August of last year, the board discussed the allegations against Von Metzke and one other teacher.
Under penal code section 11165.7, Morrison and Dawson were "mandated reporters" who were required to report the alleged events to law enforcement, says the suit. Instead, the board was asked to consider an amendment to San Diego Junior Theatre's bylaws that required boardmembers to maintain confidentiality about the organization's information and records, according to the suit. The amendment was proposed by Dawson.
In response to Valenti's concerns, Gerry Braun, chief of staff of the city attorney's office, wrote that Morrison's and Dawson's "professionalism and integrity [are] beyond question."
"It appears that Mr. Braun is attempting to cover up criminal activity," says the suit. Among the documents the city has not provided is an email between Dawson and Braun, with two pages redacted.
Braun says he will defend himself in court and the office has no comment on other charges in the suit.