Recently retired Shorecliffs Middle School Principal Kenny Moe was in court Monday, prepared to again testify in the case against former math teacher Richard Rack, who stood accused of sexual misconduct with students.
Moe, just like the attorneys involved, was taken by complete surprise to hear Rack entered a guilty plea just before his defense lawyer was to present his case to the jury. He now faces as many as 10 years in prison for oral copulation with a girl under 16 and lewd acts with two other girls, one under 14, another 14 or 15.
Just like that, two years of speculation that ran through the San Clemente community were over.
“The whole situation was so hurtful, thinking about students and being taken advantage of by someone that they trusted. It’s so hurtful and sad,” said Moe, who retired at the end of the 2012-13 school year.
Moe had no knowledge of the accusations until a student came forward in November 2011. By early December, Rack was removed from the classroom and has since been fired.
“There’s a discouragement when I look at society and I see this kind of stuff happening,” he said.
The Capistrano Unified School District released this statement:
“It is clear that Mr. Rack violated the trust of this community, our parents, and most importantly his students. While the district is unable to discuss the situation with Mr. Rack in detail, parents and community members should know that when accusations of this sort are brought to our attention, the district takes immediate action to remove the accused person from contact with students and turns the matter over to law enforcement. We encourage anyone who witnesses inappropriate behavior to immediately contact a school administrator or law enforcement.”
Meanwhile, one of the victim’s mothers talked to Patch.
“My reaction is total relief that he will not be acquitted, but in typical Rack fashion the girls involved had to go through this two-year ordeal and testify to get to this point,” said the mom of victim No. 1 (Patch is referring to the victims as numbers to protect their identity).
While the victims will have the opportunity to address Orange County Superior Court Judge Sheila Hanson before she hands down a sentence on Oct. 18, victim No. 1 is not likely to be among them, the mom said.
“My daughter is totally done. [She] doesn't want to make a victim's statement and most likely will not want to be there for sentencing. [I]on the other hand, will be there for sure,” she said.
EDITOR’S NOTE: In full disclosure, Kenny Moe is a friend of the author’s from church.
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