A sexual misconduct investigation is underway stemming from the revelation earlier this year that a former soccer coach and assistant director of athletics at SF's prestigious University High School (SFUHS) had multiple substantiated allegations against him from his time at another Bay Area prep school.
In a report made public in April, former SFUHS faculty member Rothwell "Rusty" Taylor was named as one of four onetime faculty members at Marin County's Branson School who allegedly engaged in sexual misconduct with students there going back to the 1970s. As NBC Bay Area reported, a female former Branson School student alleged that Taylor "cornered" her and forcibly kissed her when she was 15, and eventually invited her to his home and raped her.
The head of school at SFUHS, Julia Russell Eells, sent out a letter to SFUHS community the same day as the NBC Bay Area report, April 6, explaining that the school would be launching its own independent investigation into possible misconduct by Taylor at the school. As the letter explained, Taylor had been employed there "from 1979 until 2005 and briefly in 2015," and he was "disciplined in the early '90s following complaints that he had engaged in harassing conduct toward two SFUHS students."
Now, in a letter dated August 28 that was obtained by SFist, the law firm Sidley Austin LLC is reaching out to members of the SFUHS community as part of its investigation. "We operate as independent fact finders with a mandate to impartially gather facts, to assess conduct, and to make recommendations to the Board of Trustees that will promote a safe and secure environment for every student," the letter reads. The firm is seeking reports on possible misconduct by any faculty member, and the letter does not mention Taylor by name — though this update on the SFUHS website does. The school has also set up an anonymous hotline which victims can use if they do not want to be identified, and the English-speaking hotline is 833-640-0004.
Anyone with information about faculty or staff misconduct can also email or call the investigative team directly: attorneys Wendy Lazerson (650-565-7065 or [email protected]) or Brian Stretch (415-772-1227 or [email protected]).
"We are saddened and distressed that this may be a part of SFUHS’s past as the safety and well-being of our current and former students is of paramount importance," writes Eells and Board Chair Katie Albright. "We are, therefore, responding by undertaking a comprehensive, independent investigation... We take seriously our moral and legal responsibility to protect our students – present and past."