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Kristen Cunnane, an assistant coach on the California swim team, was pleased not only to have officials at the Moraga Country Club overturn their decision to cancel her swimming clinic there, but also to have been named one of the NCAA Assistant Swim Coaches of the Year, as she announced during a press conference at Haas Pavilion in Berkeley, Calif., Thursday, June 7, 2012. (D. Ross Cameron/Staff)

MORAGA -- An online petition urging the Moraga School District and its attorney to apologize to sex abuse victim Kristen Cunnane for suggesting her own behavior may have helped lead to her abuse at the hands of her teachers has gathered more than 1,500 signatures since it went online Saturday.

The petition on www.causes.com was started by New York-based Stop Abuse Campaign in answer to the school district's legal response to the UC Berkeley swim coach's lawsuit. That response contained the words "careless and negligent," but did not specify how Cunnane may have been careless or negligent regarding the abuse.

Cunnane, 30, is suing the district and three former administrators for negligence, fraudulent concealment, intentional infliction of emotional distress and other claims. She was abused by two Moraga intermediate school teachers in the 1990s and says administrators repeatedly ignored allegations of abuse, allowing her and others to be victimized.

The petition asks the district and its Walnut Creek-based attorney Louis Leone to issue the formal apology at a Nov. 13 Moraga school district governing board meeting or provide evidence to substantiate their claim.

On Friday, Moraga Superintendent Bruce Burns said in a news release that the claim is one of nine potential defense areas in what could be a multimillion-dollar suit, and that the news media is "over exaggerating its importance."


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The school board will meet at 7 p.m. Nov. 13 at Joaquin Moraga Intermediate School, 1010 Camino Pablo.