This year, several current and former students have accused longtime Yuba City High School teacher Jim Whiteaker of sexual misconduct. Now, a newly released school district investigation from 1998 indicates that Whiteaker engaged in “unwanted” and “very offensive” behavior with a student at the high school and then with an employee in the Yuba City Unified School District.
According to the district's investigation, the female employee said Whiteaker came to her home uninvited, was sexually aroused when he hugged her, and touched her breast as he ran his hand down her side.
In the report, Whiteaker admitted to visiting the woman and that he did so to comfort her during a difficult time. He claimed the employee initiated the hug, according to the investigation's findings.
In the report, Whiteaker is also quoted as saying he might have touched her breast accidentally. The report describes the woman as "big-busted," but does not say whether that was a description used by Whiteaker or its author, former personnel director Brian Sevier.
The 1998 report was acquired by Capital Public Radio from the district through a California Public Records Act request.
The document also confirms previous sexual misconduct allegations made by Andrea Foster against Whiteaker this year. The report says Foster, a former student, also filed a complaint two decades ago against Whiteaker with the school, the district and the Yuba City Police Department.
It concludes that Whiteaker touched Foster inappropriately at least three different times, including one instance when she had her arms crossed: It states Whiteaker grabbed her by the wrist in order to pull one arm away, then touched her.
The report says Whiteaker denied Foster’s allegation, saying at the time that it “wasn’t worth commenting on” and that “he did not hug or do anything with the girl.”
The 1998 investigation concluded that Whiteaker's actions with regard to both women were "unwanted, demeaning, and very offensive."
Sevier recommended a letter of reprimand be placed in the teacher’s file and that “Whiteaker’s behavior be monitored and that he be provided with appropriate guidance/assistance in the expression of his feelings in more appropriate ways."
Accusations against Whiteaker resurfaced this past January, when a 14-year-old Yuba City High student filed a complaint against the longstanding physical education teacher and current Sutter County supervisor. She says Whiteaker grabbed her buttocks while she and a friend were engaged in horseplay at school. He denies this and says he used his knee to separate the two students.
Additional former students also have came forward to tell their stories about Whiteaker’s alleged misconduct during school board meetings. One parent alleged that Whiteaker videotaped her daughter during PE class. Two parents have filed lawsuits against Whiteaker and the district.
There have also been accusations of physical abuse. One former student says she filed a complaint against Whiteaker after he allegedly grabbed her and tore the labrum in her shoulder. Other former students say Whiteaker bullied them.
Whiteaker's attorney says his client denies all allegations, adding that the teacher has never been disciplined in relation to any complaint.
California state law does not prevent the City or the department from releasing information or results from investigations. But, the Yuba City Police Department has denied California Public Records Act requests for information related to investigations into Whiteaker’s alleged misconduct, arguing that state law does not require them to provide the information.
A similar request filed with the city of Yuba City was also denied by the city attorney, who said department policy states it will not release any information related to any investigations.
The school board recommended termination proceedings against Whiteaker in February. A state-appointed arbitration panel will decide his fate.
Whiteaker continues in his capacity as Sutter County supervisor. Some residents have begun the process to recall him.