On May 12th, the Santa Clara County community heard news that former Walden West night manager Edgar Covarrubias-Padilla, who had unsupervised access to children as the night monitor, was facing additional charges of child sexual abuse.
Covarrubias-Padilla was already in custody for child pornography distribution at the time of the additional charges, which name at least one 10-year old boy as a victim.
That Walden West was an environmental education program, popular for hosting fifth- and sixth-grade classes for weeklong camps during the school year, has even graver implications. School districts who have sent children to Walden West for years attempted to stave off panic by claiming Covarrubias-Padilla did not have contact with children.
However, employees and parents have come forward to contradict that claim, stating that Covarrubias-Padilla interacted closely with children in his various jobs.
The San Jose Mercury News reports the concern of one San Jose parent whose daughter visited Walden West in January with her Evergreen School District school. The parent stated that one night when his daughter was restless, her teacher walked her to “the Hub,” as the camp’s office is called, where she stayed the night with Covarrubias-Padilla present – even after the teacher returned to her own bed.
A Letter States New Safety Rules – But Are They Enough?
Covarrubias-Padilla had allegedly undergone a standard background screening before he was hired in 2013 that included fingerprint clearance from the state Department of Justice, according to the county Office of Education.
However, the lack of alleged safety precautions taken by Walden West infer little doubt that the organization shares responsibility for the unsupervised access Covarrubias-Padilla had to children.
That responsibility was further acknowledged by the removal of Walden West Camp Director, Anita Parsons, on May 13th.
Jon Gundry, Santa Clara County’s Superintendent of Schools, recently released a letter to parents promising additional safety measures to be implemented. The list, which can be seen here, may leave parents wondering why such precautions weren’t already being taken?
For Parents Wondering What They Should Do
If you have reason to believe your child was affected by Edgar Covarrubias-Padilla’s allegedly inappropriate behavior, there are steps you can take immediately to protect your child from further harm.
We understand that you want to protect your child, but what are the best things to say and do? How do you even process your own feelings while providing support? If you’re feeling confused, you’re not alone.
No parent is prepared for how to act when faced with the molestation of your child. However, this period is critical. Please understand that the most difficult emotions a child molestation victim struggles with are shame and concerns that the sexual abuse was in some way their fault.
Immediately Contact an Attorney Specializing in Child Molestation
If your child was at Walden West with Edgar Covarrubias-Padilla and you are concerned about the possibility that your child was molested, or want guidance regarding what steps to take next, contact attorneys Robert Allard or Lauren Cerri by calling 408-289-1417 for immediate help.