A former principal was found guilty in San Jose of failing to report suspected sexual abuse by a teacher, according to reports. Lyn Vijayendran will not serve jail time, however.
The defendant, 36, wiped away a tear as the clerk announced jurors found her guilty of a misdemeanor for not reporting possible child abuse by a teacher last year.
As principal at O.B. Whaley Elementary School in San Jose, she is required by law to report suspected child abuse at her school, and a jury found that she did not.
Santa Clara County Judge Deborah Ryan did not sentence Vijayendran to jail, instead giving her two years' probation, $602 in fines and 100 hours of community service.
Vijayendran could have been sentenced to up to six months in jail.
"I agree with the jury's verdict," Ryan told a tearful Vijayendran. "You did what you thought was right, but I don't think it was objectively reasonable at the time."
"I know it will have far-reaching consequences for your career. I do think you made a very bad judgment."
After Vijayendran's sentencing, Santa Clara County Assistant District Attorney Alison Filo said Monday that the former principal simply did not meet her obligation as an educator.
"We hope that mandatory reporters in our community understand their basic obligation to contact law enforcement every time they so much as suspect that a child has been harmed," Filo said.
"In the words of (Vijayendran), 'I would have been crazy not to realize that this child was describing a sex act.' Getting talked out of that reasonable suspicion just isn't a defense."
So what happened, exactly?
Vijayendran testified Thursday that teacher Craig Chandler appeared forthright when he told her an incident during which he allegedly blindfolded a second-grade girl.
He then "put something in her mouth was part of a lesson plan about Helen Keller."
Vijayendran's previous handwritten and typed notes say the second-grader told the principal in front of her mother that Chandler made her lie down on the classroom floor.
At that point, he touched her feet with something that felt like a tongue and put something in the 8-year-old's mouth that tasted like a salty liquid as she was blindfolded and alone with him.
The notes also said Chandler wiggled her body and head back and forth and asked her earlier to open her legs. There is physical evidence to support this, as well.
Chandler is facing charges of committing lewd and lascivious acts on five children. A crime lab allegedly found his semen on a classroom chair.
He has pleaded not guilty and is scheduled to go to trial December 5.
After Vijayendran was sentenced Monday, juror Susan LaGaffa said that the ex-principal "stuck her head in the sand rather than pull the alarm. I think she didn't want this ugly thing to be true."
Continue reading about Vijayendran's sentence at KTVU.