The news of the arrest of local teacher Nicholas Moseby on charges of sexually abusing teen girls sent shockwaves through the Tri-Valley.
Moseby, 41, of Concord, was arrested and charged on Sept. 16 with sexually abusing a 15-year-old girl and sending her lewd photos of himself while he was a coach with Nor Cal Elites cheerleading program. Two days later, he was charged with sexually abusing a second girl, 14, while working as a substitute teacher reportedly at an SRVUSD school site.
Currently, Moseby is being held on a $200,000 bond charged with four felonies involving sexual abuse and lewd acts, and two misdemeanors of child molesting and sexual battery.
Many, including me, feel a few red flags were missed or ignored before his hiring -- prior arrests -- and after he was hired -- student complaints.
An internet search on Moseby pulls up prior arrests, including one for allegedly soliciting a prostitute in Oakland in 2015. Moseby listed his 2009 arrest in Arizona for providing alcohol to a minor on his July 2021 application for a teaching position. If the court records were checked, the district would have found that Moseby was 28 at the time and the underage person was his 18-year-old girlfriend, a student at the high school where Moseby worked.
Moseby was issued a single-subject teaching credential by the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CCTC) only six weeks before his Sept. 16 arrest.
Didn't these three agencies -- SRVUSD, CCTC and Nor Cal Elites -- do background checks? Internet searches?
I believe SRVUSD and CCTC did their state-mandated "due diligence" background check with the fingerprint-based LiveScan program, which is processed through the California Department of Justice (DOJ). Nor Cal Elites, where Moseby worked as a cheerleading coach since 2013, did not respond to a request for information about their vetting process for coaches.
It appears Moseby slipped under the radar during the hiring process because of deficiencies in the background check process, in which cases without resolution are not listed.
"The two state-required background checks, including running a report with the Department of Justice and with the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing, were completed," said Ilana Israel Samuels, SRVUSD's director of communications and community relations. "To clarify, a person may be arrested but if not charged or if a matter is expunged from their record, the DOJ report would not contain this information."
According to the DOJ website, LiveScan runs a list of arrests and prosecutions (a "RAP" sheet), and each item listed is manually researched for a disposition. Oddly, the scan does not include an internet search.
There are currently two outstanding warrants for his arrest, one in Arizona for failure to submit to court-ordered fingerprinting and another in Santa Barbara for failure to appear at an arraignment hearing for a charge of public intoxication in 2010.
Samuels said if a person is not charged the DOJ report would not be listed, but the DOJ website says the disposition is researched. Maybe Moseby's charges didn't show up on LiveScan because there were no resolutions -- dispositions -- to the charges, evidenced by the outstanding warrant. Also, Moseby was not fingerprinted in the Arizona case. (I'm giving the agencies the benefit of the doubt they did not disregard arrests for misdemeanors that could be benign, but also could be red flags of future deviant behavior.)
Acknowledging the deficiencies in the hiring process, SRVUSD Superintendent John Malloy said that in order to create the optimal learning environment, which is the district's goal, "We know that students must be safe in school," he said. "To this end, we have reviewed our practices to make improvements in service to students."
"We are taking action to add additional layers of backgrounding, including running FBI reports on all applicants which will show us beyond the DOJ jurisdiction to other states as well," Samuels said. "And, we will be using an online system for teacher candidates called the Educator Identification Clearinghouse (EIC), offered through the National Association of State Directors of Teacher Education and Certification (NASDTEC)."
The CCTC uses EIC, Samuels mentioned. According to the NASDTEC website, the clearinghouse allows member agencies to exchange names of educators who have had their credentials denied or revoked.
While an internet search "has not been our standard practice," Samuels said, "the NASDTEC system accounts for some of this moving forward."
Samuels said the hiring process with added steps will be evaluated at the end of the school year.
But, in my opinion, there were missed or ignored red flags after Moseby's hiring in the form of incident reports filed by San Ramon Valley High School students that may or may not have been investigated by someone Moseby knew before being hired by SRVUSD.
The reports were submitted to SRVHS principal Whitney Cottrell, and assistant principals Ann-Marie Walters and Nicole Chaplan were involved in responding.
I am troubled by Chaplan's involvement in the investigations and dismissal of the incidents. She is listed as one of Moseby's professional references on his July 2021 application to the district, and I consider that a conflict.
Please understand, I don't know how Moseby and Chaplan knew each other, how long or the circumstances. They could have worked together or been friends. But they were acquainted well enough for her to be a reference for him, which I wouldn't do without knowing someone fairly well.
Moseby taught at San Ramon Valley High School during the 2021-22 school year. The first written incident report was in October 2021 and referenced something Moseby whispered to the student who wrote the report and another student about them being "hot." The writer said it "made us uncomfortable."
The student followed up with Cottrell a week later because she had not heard from anyone about her complaint. Both Walters and Chaplan were made aware of the complaint. Chaplan told Walters and Cottrell in an Oct. 29, 2021 email that she had "ample background" on the situation and that "this student was brought up in SRT this week and I have spoken to you about the mother before."
On Nov. 10, 2021, Walters sent an email to a number of people, including Cottrell, that stated after "speaking to adults and some students in the room, it was clear no inappropriate comment was made." She also said the student's information about the incident "changed with each report" and that the teacher, presumably Moseby, was "horrified to hear what was reported."
A report submitted to Cottrell was made March 18 and referenced a Feb. 15 incident in which a student had "an issue with a teacher that made us feel extremely uncomfortable," and mentioned Moseby allegedly saying the student was "much better than (friend's name redacted), and she's not pretty."
The parents of the student who made at least one report sent an email to Cottrell saying no one from SRVHS had contacted them and requesting a response. They said their student "has expressed to us that she does not feel comfortable in Mr. Moseby's class due to situations that have happened," and that they were concerned with "her wellbeing and mental health."
Moseby was transferred for unknown reasons to another school within the district, Diablo Vista Middle School, for the 2022-23 school year, and his employment with the district has now been terminated after his arrest in September.
A mother of an SRVHS student who filed a report (and is not named to protect the student) said in a phone interview that her child's first incident report about Moseby was "lost."
The mother also said there was a "student teacher" placed in one of Moseby's classes after her student's complaint and "it's just too much of a coincidence."
"I don't think there was an investigation," she said. "We've heard a lot of complaints about (Moseby).
"I've seen pictures of him with his hands on my daughter," the mother continued. "They just don't care."
P.S. I'm still the publisher
An email sent to registered users of PleasantonWeekly.com and DanvilleSanRamon.com incorrectly stated it was a "Message from our new publisher."
The communication was from Embarcadero Media's new CEO, Adam Dawes, who is also EM's Peninsula Division publisher.
I am, and will continue to be, the publisher of EM's East Bay Division. So, to the delight or dismay of some, I'm not going anywhere.
Gina Channell Wilcox's "Around the Valley" is her personal views and reflections on issues, news and life. It runs the first and third weeks of the month.