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Childhood Sexual Abuse Lawsuit Filed Against St. Matthew's Episcopal Day School After Pre-Kindergarten Teacher Takes Thousands of Lewd Pictures and Videos of Young Girls

After a St. Matthew's Episcopal Day School student complained to her parents about pre-kindergarten teacher Anthony Satriano, and after the resulting law enforcement investigation, Satriano was arrested, charged, and pled no contest to five felony counts of lewd and lascivious conduct, attempted lewd and lascivious conduct and using a child for sexual purposes. On February 23, 2018, pre-kindergarten teacher Satriano was sentenced to 6 years in prison.

On March 14, 2018, a former St. Matthew's student filed suit against St. Matthew's Episcopal Day School, The Episcopal Church of St. Matthew, Episcopal Diocese of Northern California, Head of School Julie Galles and Anthony Satriano (San Mateo County Case # 18CIV01309).

The childhood sexual abuse lawsuit alleges that prestigious private school St. Matthew's Episcopal Day School and Head of School Julie Galles failed to protect St. Matthew's School students. The lawsuit further alleges that St Matthew's School and its employees, including Head of School Galles, ignored Satriano's inappropriate physical contact with students and grooming conduct, failed to have child protection policies and procedures in place, and hired staff that did not meet legally-mandated minimum qualifications. The lawsuit alleges that St. Matthew's School and Head of School Galles received many complaints but elected to ignore them.

The lawsuit alleges that St. Matthew's School's failure to supervise pre-k teacher Satriano allowed him to be alone with students whenever he desired, and he sexually abused students, including Plaintiff, on school property and during official school activities (regular class time, after-school enrichment programs, and school break camps run by Satriano). The lawsuit alleges that St. Matthew's School ignored known dangers and failed to keep children safe from childhood sexual abuse.

"Exposing the truth about childhood sexual abuse and holding schools and churches accountable is the only way to force institutions to make changes to better protect children. Childhood sexual abuse causes traumatic harm that children often suffer for the rest of their lives," said psychologist and attorney Joseph George, Ph.D. of the Law Offices of Joseph C. George, Ph.D.

The Joseph George Jr. Law, has represented hundreds of survivors of childhood sexual abuse in cases against schools, religious institutions and youth service organizations. Dr. George is a licensed psychologist as well as a licensed attorney. The firm has offices in Sacramento, Los Angeles and Newport Beach, California.

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What: At a preliminary hearing, a former private school teacher and coach, Anthony Satriano, will be charged with 12 felony counts of using a minor for sexual purposes (Penal Code section 311.4), two counts of lewd and lascivious acts upon a child (Penal Code section 288(a)), one count of attempted lewd and lascivious acts upon a child (Penal Code section 288(a)) and one count of possession of child pornography (Penal Code section 311.11 (a)). He also faces potential charges in other jurisdictions relating to child pornography involving additional victims.

Parents of the victims- age four to eight-say that officials at the prestigious St. Matthew's Episcopal Day School in San Mateo minimized the extent of the abuse and number of victims, trivialized the sexual fetish behaviors that Satriano acted out on their children, withheld information that parents need to determine if their children are victims and failed to provide basic victim support to the children. School officials also ignored warnings that Satriano was a risk to children, disregarded textbook signs of sexual predation, and ignored warnings that school security was grossly inadequate.

Victims' advocates will be available for comment after the hearing.


Wednesday, August 16, 2017 at 2:00 p.m.

San Mateo County Court, 400 County Center, Redwood City

Why: Anthony Satriano, a former head pre-kindergarten teacher, who also taught after-school classes, coached multiple sports and ran holiday and summer camps at San Mateo's St. Matthew's Episcopal Day School, was arrested on April 21 for taking and possessing photos of young students in lewd poses. Further investigation by San Mateo law enforcement resulted in charges of lewd and lascivious acts up a child, using a minor for sexual purposes, and child pornography.

Parents of some victims, through their lawyer, say that the school minimized abuse and ignored obvious warning signs of predatory grooming behavior.

"The school leadership trivialized this sexual fetish-based criminal behavior and child pornography, including the fetish-based physical touching, and minimized the harm done to these very small, wounded children," said Dr. Joseph C. George, an attorney and psychologist who represents multiple families involved.

George said that the parents also feel betrayed by school administrators and are curious why they ignored numerous warnings about security, warnings about Satriano's conduct toward children and Satriano's classic "red flag" predatory grooming behavior, which had been ongoing for more than a year.

"There were numerous complaints from many parents about the security and supervision of small children, including in classes led by Satriano, and clear red flags signaling grooming and abuse" he said. "Repeated written concerns about security were provided to Julie Galles, Head of School, starting in February 2016, yet parents were not listened to and no action was taken. Adequate supervision could have prevented these crimes, and standard monitoring for warning signs of grooming and sexual abuse could have prevented or stopped these crimes before Satriano abused and victimized so many children."

"Sexual abuse in schools is unfortunately common and procedures for its prevention are well-established. Schools that have standard precautions in place prevent abuse like that which occurred in this case. St. Matthew's failed to implement those precautions."

George also noted that more victims are likely to emerge after the facts of the case come to light. "The bizarre fetish behaviors in this case are so unusual that many parents have not asked their children the necessary questions, and parents of children who did not have a class with Satriano may not recognize the need to talk to their children. As parents learn the details, our fear is that more are likely to discover that their children were targets or victims."

Five St. Matthew's Episcopal Day School children under age eight are listed in the felony complaint as victims. At least ten girls and boys from St. Matthew's Episcopal Day School were interviewed by law enforcement with likely misdemeanor charges not pursued by the San Mateo District Attorney's office. Additional victims of child pornography in Satriano's possession appear not to be students at St. Matthew's Episcopal Day School, and the San Mateo District Attorney does not have jurisdiction to prosecute those crimes.

Media accounts to date have failed to disclose that the charges include touching of the children.

CONTACT: Dr. George can be contacted at (916) 623-4914.

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Call Joseph George Jr. Law today at (916) 623-4914 and schedule a free consultation.

  • Ph.D in Psychology

    Joseph C. George earned a Ph.D. in psychology and was an active duty clinical psychologist in the United States Air Force for 12 years.

  • Decades of Experience

    Collectively, our legal team has more than 30 years of experience in fighting for the rights of Californians

  • Well-Rounded Team

    Attorney Joseph George Jr. is a former deputy district attorney; Attorney Maricar Pascual was the national champion in appellate advocacy

  • Honest Communication

    We value each of our clients; everyone deserves respect and clear communication. We never leave our clients in the dark.