The conversation, part II
It’s time for Kevin Johnson to answer the question that Bites asked six weeks ago: “What the hell were you thinking?”
Back before the allegations against K.J. became “Showergate,” Johnson told SN&R that his accuser in Phoenix, a woman now known to Sacramentans as “Amanda,” had some “issues in terms of mental health and otherwise. Unfortunately, she wasn’t very stable.”
But that doesn’t explain Johnson being recorded by Phoenix police having what can only be described as an intimate conversation with a 16-year-old girl.
It’s not helping K.J.'s case that he refused to answer questions from the Bee about whether he had paid a settlement to Amanda, citing privacy concerns. But a “no” answer wouldn’t violate anybody’s privacy. In fact, a “no” answer is really the only acceptable answer, unless of course the real answer is “yes.”
The Kevin Johnson campaign would of course like Showergate to go away. But there are just too many other shoes to drop, too many weird details yet to come out.
Take the account from Erik Jones, the ex-Sacramento High teacher who put up the “No Perverts for Mayor” banner outside his Oak Park home earlier this year. Johnson founded the St. Hope schools that occupy the Sac High campus.
Jones told SN&R that a student approached him and a school counselor during a class trip to Yosemite and said that Johnson had hugged and kissed her, touched her breasts and generally grossed her out. That much has been written about already, more or less. And it’s been widely reported that the girl has recanted her story.
But consider this. Upon returning to the school after the Yosemite trip, Jones said he told the St. Hope attorney (and Kevin Johnson’s personal attorney), Kevin Hiestand, about the girl’s story and asked whether a Child Protective Services report should be filed.
Jones is what state law calls a “mandated reporter.” He must report any information he hears about possible child abuse to the police and to CPS right away. But according to Jones, Hiestand told him not to make a report until after the attorney had a chance to talk with the student.
Did you catch that? Hiestand told Jones to refrain from making a report—a report that Jones was legally required to make—until after Hiestand had a chance to talk to the family.
Next, Jones said, Hiestand and two other employees met with the girl and the girl’s mother. After that, Hiestand reported to Jones that the girl had recanted her story. Jones also said that Hiestand suggested he reconsider making the report. But Jones made the report and then quit his job.
Contacted by Bites, Hiestand didn’t respond to a question about Jones’ account, referring it instead to Rick Maya, who recently took over from Kevin Johnson as executive director of St. Hope schools. Maya sent this response, via e-mail:
“St. Hope conducted its due diligence and adhered to state law reporting requirements. A police investigation was carried out and there was no finding of wrongdoing.”
Unfortunately, that doesn’t answer the question. So, Bites asked it again. Did Mr. Hiestand or any St. Hope employee contact the family about this allegation before that report was made to the police and to CPS?”
Maya’s response this time, “At this time, we will stay put with the response I sent earlier.”
What does it mean for Kevin Johnson’s attorney to confront K.J.'s accuser at Sac High before she got a chance to talk to the proper authorities?
What does it mean that Kevin Johnson did, it now seems, pay Amanda a settlement to make her accusations go away?
Maybe it’s just part of the K.J. package, something Sacramentans will learn to accept. Johnson told SN&R that when he went into the NBA his rookie year, he was told, “You have to understand, you’re a target as a high-profile person. Good, bad or indifferent, you just have to understand that.”
Maybe settlements and the occasional accusation are just part of the territory for Kevin Johnson, NBA star and future mayor of Sacramento. Maybe his decisions have nothing to do with any of it. Maybe.