School waited 9 months to report sex allegations INVESTIGATION: Teacher allegedly molested an additional four students after the first report was made

The Orange County Register

North County News

Orange County Register
16 July 1993: a01.

Sunny Hills High School officials failed to notify police for more than nine months after they first learned of sexual-misconduct allegations against teacher George Fairchild, police and court records show.

Fairchild, 51, allegedly molested an additional four students from September, when the first student reported him, until May. A school official told police that no formal investigation had been conducted.

Glenda Kilbourn, the district’s personnel administrator, described the school’s inquiry into Fairchild as an “informal investigation,” according to school records police obtained through a search warrant.

According to records, Fairchild met with school officials June 1 and denied many of the allegations, “however, did admit that he had said things, but he never meant them to be sexual.”

Seven students came forward with their stories, but the statute of limitations expired on allegations by two of the girls.

Fairchild, who will be arrested when he returns from a Caribbean vacation Wednesday, is charged with eight felony counts of lewd and lascivious conduct, five misdemeanor counts of child molestation and two misdemeanor counts of sexual battery. He could not be reached for comment.

According to police records, Fairchild allegedly touched female students and made sexual comments about their bodies. He also allegedly made statements about extra-marital affairs he had had, including those with students in the back of his truck’s camper in the school parking lot.

Police learned about Fairchild after a student, at the urging of her private counselor, reported her allegations to police May 26.

School officials took action the next day, when Principal George Giokaris filed a Child Abuse Registry report with Child Protective Services.

They advised him it was a police matter, according to the reports.

When a police detective contacted the school, officials initially refused to turn over any documents regarding Fairchild.

Fullerton Police Chief Patrick McKinley then contacted Superintendent Ken Jones to obtain records but was referred to the school’s lawyer. Attorney Spencer Covert told police they could obtain the records with a search warrant.

Covert said Thursday that the school was merely following education codes that, because of privacy laws, require the school’s attorneys to review all requests for information before they are granted.

Covert said the police received all the requested information.

Acting Superintendent Greg Bice and Assistant to the Superintendent Ron Anderson both have said the district took proper steps during their investigation.

Under state law, school officials must contact the police or Protective Services when they suspect any molestation or abuse has been committed.

But, if the charges aren’t substantiated, the information does not have to be forwarded to authorities, Anderson said Thursday.

Police Lt. Jeff Roop said police also are investigating whether the district violated any state laws by waiting to report the allegations.

Parents of some of the five girls have accused the school district of trying to cover up the allegations against Fairchild.

“They’re protecting the teachers and not the kids,” said one parent, whose daughter accused Fairchild of grabbing her arm and adjusting her bra strap and using inappropriate langauge when speaking to her.

The Register, as a matter of policy, does not name alleged sexual victims or their families.

The court records show that in September a student told Giokaris that Fairchild allegedly squeezed her torso just below her bra line on several occasions in class and made references to the size of her breasts.

The girl said Giokaris never advised her to file a formal complaint.

Instead, Giokaris told her he would talk to Fairchild, the records say. The girl told police Fairchild confronted her in the hallway, telling her: “I can’t believe you did this. I could lose my job. You should have come to me first. I can’t be alone with girls now.”

According to the records, Giokaris told police he received an anonymous tip about Fairchild that turned out to be from the girl’s father. He said he merely advised Fairchild not to make comments to females because no one wanted to make a formal complaint.

The report says Giokaris advised Kilbourn when he learned of more complaints against Fairchild. Kilbourn was said to be conducting an investigation into the allegations, the report said.

However, Kilbourn told police Detective Samuel P. Contino “there was no formal investigation” when he asked for a copy of her investigation. Kilbourn did agree to give Contino notes she took during an interview with one of the students, but those notes had to be obtained from the school district’s lawyer.

Police also are investigating allegations involving Fairchild from Buena Park and La Habra high schools dating back at least 10 years, said Lt. Jeff Roop.

One of the five students who talked to Fullerton police said Fairchild told her he had to leave La Habra High School because he allegedly had had an affair with a female student, according to police records.

A 30-year-old Buena Park High graduate who also contacted police this week said Fairchild allegedly made advances toward her when she was a student. Contacted by telephone Thursday, she declined to comment.


BLACK & WHITE PHOTO; Caption: GEORGE FAIRCHILD: School officials say they followed procedures in investigating accusations against teacher.

Copyright Orange County Register Jul 16, 1993