Bellarmine Prep Scraps Plan to Name Theater after Late Teacher Following Abuse Accusation

Tom Alessandri’s death this summer prompted an outpouring of grief. Former students called the Bellarmine Prep theater and English teacher a beloved mentor, a father figure and all-around legend. The private Jesuit boys school in San Jose live-streamed his memorial service and announced plans to christen its new $30 million theater in his honor. But not everyone was so enamored with the late “T.A.,” as he was known to friends and students. In an essay penned anonymously and published on Medium, one former pupil—a Notre Dame High School student who used to act in plays at Bellarmine—called Alessandri a predator. “I am enraged,” the column began before describing in gut-wrenching detail how T.A. allegedly used his position of authority to groom her into having a sexual relationship with him. The piece originally ended with a resounding indictment: “Fuck you, Tom Alessandri.” By the time Medium forced the scribe to replace his name with initials, the post had already garnered thousands of views. Fly struck up a correspondence with the author, who declined to put her name on the record but spoke candidly in phone interviews about how Alessandri’s death reopened old wounds. Perhaps sensing a legal challenge, Bellarmine responded to the woman as well. “It sounds as if this was a very painful experience for you,” Principal Kristina Luscher wrote in a July 10 email. “Are you interested in meeting to discuss how/if we might be a part of your healing process?” Doubtful of their sincerity, the woman followed up her initial post with yet another one earlier this month. In the Aug. 14 follow-up, she wrote in equally intimate detail about how the school lionizing her alleged abuser continued to re-traumatize her. She also noted that a number of other victims had since come out of the woodwork. Her writing once again made the rounds, but this time it apparently ignited enough backlash to get Bellarmine to quietly drop the idea of naming its theater after Alessandri. When Fly asked campus officials about the decision, they declined to go into detail. “We take these allegations very seriously,” Bellarmine Vice Principal Brian Adams said. “And out of respect for all involved, we have decided not to move forward with the naming of the theater.”

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44 Comments

    • > Before you post, think long and hard about which side of this issue you really want to be on.

      GRRRRR!

      This is what I’ve been complaining about for months.

      This is pure tribalist thinking: “My tribe good, other tribe bad”.

      Why not be on the side of . . . TRUTH!

      Now, that’s a radical concept in the era of CNN advocacy journalism, New York Times “corrections”, and fake news.

      Hear all the facts. Check them, and double check them, THEN decide what is the “truth” to the best of your ability.

      • There is evidence. There are multiple women who have come forward. The individual making the allegation is not filing a lawsuit, and is under no obligation to reveal herself or provide evidence. The evidence *was* provided to Bellarmine, and that’s who made this decision. I hope that you will take the time to ask “What if this is true? What is the right thing to do?” If you have no response, then you are part of the problem.

        • > If you have no response, then you are part of the problem.

          I have no facts.

          Therefore, I have no response.

          Therefore, I’m part of the problem.

          Check with Rich, but I believe the Progressive Activism Manual at this point calls for “shaming”.

          Probably some gender shaming, or Catholic shaming, or class shaming. Bellarmine is a private school and only privileged rich kids go there.

          Rich will know what to do.

          • Just an FYI, I’m a Bellarmine student, and about 25% of my friends at the school receive some form of financial aid. And Bellarmine is very accepting of LGBT+ students (as a LGBT+ student commenting this). So shut the f*ck up with your self righteous bullshit and trying to make this about more than just accusations (that could very well be true) against a man who taught there

    • Based on the evidence, what Bellarmine took seriously was not the validity of the allegations but the likelihood of its being targeted by an estrogen-crazed mob that feeds off unsubstantiated allegations the way the Crusader’s fed off Christianity.

      • How sad for you that you view the world this way. Your mother, sisters, aunts, daughters, and friends are all part of this “estrogen mob” (sweet band name, btw). The question is not “what if” someone you care about has been sexually assaulted. The question is, were they ok getting the help they needed, or did they feel too ashamed? How would they feel if they knew you made such sweeping generalizations about victims? If you can’t find it inside yourself to ask these kinds of questions and answer them honestly, then you are indeed part of the problem.

        • How sad the world is this way. The exalted victim, whose status as such is based only on her safe-from-challenge allegations, waited until this teacher was dead before she aimed her nasty words at those who loved and admired him — people who had done nothing to her. If you can’t see the evil in that you’re letting your rage blind you.

          Based on her own words, this female was an adult at the time and the acts were consensual (and I’m going to take the feminist position and assume that 18 year-old women are qualified to manage their sexual behavior). But we are supposed to be outraged that he was an older man in whom she’d placed her trust, thus making the sex somehow an abuse of his power over her. But to see it that way requires accepting that the young woman was herself powerless over him. Nonsense. An attractive young woman who signals sexual vulnerability to a man has a level of power over him which trumps that any mentor or teacher ever had over a student. Other young women in that position have prompted men to leave their wives and children, give up their careers, and surrender their fortunes. I guess we can always hate the guy for having, allegedly, enjoyed her charms gratis.

          • Let everyone note that Frustrated Finfan didn’t respond to any of the questions posed, and you’re all welcome to draw your own conclusions from that. What is plain to see is that they exist in a warped reality where women possess some magical controlling ability that poor weak men are helpless against.

            If you would like to learn more about what grooming is, you may be interested in visiting the following link: https://www.nspcc.org.uk/preventing-abuse/child-abuse-and-neglect/grooming/

            Take note that TA met the following definition criteria: offering advice or understanding, giving the child attention, using their professional position or reputation, taking them on trips/outings/holidays. Just because facts are upsetting, doesn’t mean they aren’t real.

          • and how exactly is an anonymous person exalted?

            and would you be brave enough to say all this directly to her face, or would you be too intimidated in the face of her sexual wizardry?

          • Grace,

            I would be happy to answer your questions if it didn’t require me to know things I cannot know. “Were they okay…?” “How would they feel…?”

            Those only qualify as questions to people who should never be allowed to vote.

            By the way, an 18 year-old female is by law not a child.

            As for exalted, this person is now held in such regard that plans for naming a school building after a celebrated teacher have been abandoned.

          • Anonymous poster “Dave” says “Wow, what a jerk.”
            Why? WHY?
            Why would “Dave” accuse frustrated finfan of being a jerk if it wasn’t true? Nobody would do that, especially someone who’d felt victimized by finfan’s mean remarks. So it has to be true. Frustrated Finfan has been proved to be a jerk.
            San Jose Inside must now, under the terms of the Political Correctness Compliance Act, follow the lead of Bellarmine and drag frustrated finfan’s name through the mud, then banish him from posting, erase all his previous posts AND…. ANY utterances of his name.
            What? What? It doesn’t count in this case because the “victim” was a man and not a woman? It only counts when the “victim” is a woman? Oh, ok.

            Never mind.

          • Some have called into question whether “Dave” was truly victimized. Let me answer this question thus:
            Frustrated finfan’s mean comments were measured at an astonishing 65 degrees Fahrenheit. Anonymous poster “Dave”, being a snowflake, has a melting point of 32 degrees so clearly would have suffered significant meltage while being exposed to finfan’s comments for the 10 to 15 seconds it would have taken him to read them. So clearly anonymous poster “Dave” has attained that most lofty of positions…
            Anonymous poster “Dave” is now a victim. Too bad for him he’s just a guy
            Probably a white guy at that. Dave, if you’re listening, you may still qualify to exploit your new status if you claim to be L,G,B,T, or even Q.
            Lie if you have to.

          • “And the day you turn 18 and a legend asks if you’d like to get coffee with just him…”

            Hysterical and illiterate.

          • FinFan,

            I’m shocked! Shocked! that you would make such an outrageously discriminatory statement against the “Uglo-American” community. Women have been managing men ever since Eve persuaded Adam to eat the apple. This only applies though to women who are capable of charm and thus excludes the vast majority of radical feminists.

        • Grace, I am a victim of sexual assault, and I’m really uncomfortable with both this article and your statements. You are calling this sexual assault. Yes, I took time to read both blogs. No, what she’s describing is not sexual assault or sexual abuse. It’s a big age difference, but by her own description she consented and was over 18. Her assertions that he was a predator or lying in wait or something are her own assumptions and we can certainly never know now that this person is deceased.

          I recognize that you are an advocate. I am too. But when you falsely frame trauma in legal terms like “sexual assault” and “sexual abuse,” you continue to chip away at the believability of victims who were NOT capable of consent, or who DID say no. You are trying to help, but I can tell you as someone who has been assaulted, as someone who said no, hit him, tried to get him away and he didn’t listen–you are hurting us.

          • I am so sorry that this happened to you, Tabitha. I hope that you are in a much safer situation, and have found lots of support and ways to heal. I disagree with the foundation of your argument, because abuse and assault takes many forms. Clearly once physical violence becomes involved, the severity of the situation becomes very different than emotional and verbal abuse and manipulation, and I understand why you don’t feel that your experience can be equated to what has happened to the victim in this situation. No matter our different feelings here, you have every right to think about this the way you do, and I wish you well.

    • The individual making the allegation is not filing a lawsuit, and is under no obligation to reveal herself or provide evidence. The evidence *was* provided to Bellarmine, and that’s who made this decision.

  1. It’s been really refreshing since Pope Francis has taken over. Allegations like these are no longer settled out of court, and the church has been doing a commendable job in working with law enforcement under Francis’s direction. Now if we can get some other religions to see their own imperfections and clean their acts up, the world will be a better place.

    • > and the church has been doing a commendable job in working with law enforcement under Francis’s direction.

      Robert:

      I’m sure that the Obama-Holder-Lynch-Clinton-Comey-Podesta-Wasserman Schultz justice system were responsive and efficient in jumping on and hammering any allegations involving the tiny little pissants at the bottom of the Church hierarchy. But, I doubt if any of the little pissants were involved in money laundering through the Clinton foundation, wiretapping of political opponents, making illegal political contributions, or snooping on the tax returns of political enemies.

        • Joanne,

          Instead of telling Jesus to get some therapy, tell us what commenter SJOutside wrote to spin you up like that? His allegations are extremely serious, and they are supported by a mountain of credible evidence—far more evidence than the one-sided assertions in this article. And a lot more people have been negatively affected by those government officials, who possessed far more real power than Mr. Allesandri ever had.

          This is not intended to downplay or denigrate the anonymous putative ‘victim’ in this article. Rather, it is intended to provide some needed perspective, showing how our priorities have been turned upside down and manipulated by Big Media.

          The very serious criminal activity referred to by Mr. SJO has never been adjudicated. In fact, the FBI just announced that it was dropping its investigation into Mrs. Clinton’s ‘pay to play’ bribery scheme because there wasn’t sufficient public interest!

          Whiskey. Tango. Foxtrot?!?

          Since when is ‘insufficient public interest’ a reason for the FBI to stop investigating criminal activity? Isn’t that the FBI’s specific remit? Investigating federal crimes is the reason the FBI exists.

          Furthermore, do you really believe that the same FBI would drop its investigation if Donald J. Trump was the alleged perpetrator, instead of Mrs. Clinton?

          This is an astonishing double standard. The incessant, ongoing, and totally partisan investigations still probing into President Trump’s so-called “collusion” with Russia show no sign of ending, despite the fact that they have produced zero credible evidence.

          After a year of increasingly desperate investigations by the DNC, by billionaire George Soros, and by the FBI (plus a boatload of investigative reporters hoping to be the next Woodward & Bernstein), the media continues to breathlessly ‘report’ on the latest innuendo, assertion, and speculation. They have long since crosed the line into treachery, since it’s obvious to the most casual observer that if the exact same allegations had been made against Mrs. Clinton, she would skate like she always does. Her Get Out Of Jail Free card apparently never expires.

          This is rank hypocrisy, and it is totally un-American. We are no longer living in a country of laws. Instead, this has become a country of men (and women, obviously). If you know the right people, you get automatic immunity from prosecution. We need look no farther than Hillary Clinton.

          On the other hand, if you’re not part of an anointed class you can be dead and buried, but you’re still presumed guilty. It doesn’t matter if your accuser is an adult who couldn’t work up the courage to say “No,” and who refused to file charges when the accused was alive and capable of defending himself. This way, he will always be guilty as charged. “Silence is concurrence”, eh? He no longer denies the accusation!

          The lines are now drawn—and justice has less and less to do with it. And nationally, there is no justice at all. Just ask Mr. Donald J. Trump. If he had been guilty of the smallest infraction they certainly would have found it by now. But since he’s innocent of all charges, innuendo, speculation, and baseless assertions will have to do.

          Do you not see the glaring hypocrisy? More importantly, can you not see where this is going? Or have you made up your mind based on bogus media talking points, to the point that nothing can change your mind now?

          If that’s the case, it isn’t Mr. SJO who needs the therapy…

          • Smokey,

            I derive as much from SJO’s postings. It’s like sarcasm, you either get it or you get upset.

          • This may be shocking to you, but it is physically possible to consider two sides of an argument, and disagree without leveraging insults. That is, when both sides are based in sound logic.

          • To Grace’s comment…

            Yes both sides can have logic, which is why society requires evidence and not reasons. The author of these medium posts may feel abused and perhaps she was groomed, but to publicly defame this professor with allegations of illegal activity needs a little more than logic and feelings. It needs evidence to support it and in the post, the author says this all starts after she is 18, so statutory rape is off the table. Harassment with the emails, maybe, let’s see them. The author tags the post sexual abuse and rape culture, if this happened and the school is covering it up by pushing this aside, it needs to come out.

            I read her posts with concern, like everyone here. But my disturbance is that this grown women thinks the entire world is out to abuse her body. That this teacher sharing his emotions with her is some Jedi mind trick to control and this sharing perpetuates the patriarchy. As if women don’t share emotional issues with men. That this manipulation later informed her decision to not report what read like clear rape, even with a witness to her level of intoxication. If that was this teacher’s responsibility, then we are in real disagreement, because, if true, it was the rapist’s fault, 100%, and 0% “TA”s fault.

            The author has voluntarily given up agency, blaming sexual abuse and rape culture I can not deduce from the evidence she lays out in the post. She has issues, perhaps resulting from this relationship, and needs support rebuilding her life and confidence. But unless this TA broke the law (and it is not clear she is citing any specific crime), this is a questionable way to rebuild her life, accusing him sexual assault without evidence after he is dead.

    • Um, sport? Ever hear of the Jimmy Seville case at the BBC? He was a big tv star in Britain and molested hundreds of children. Didn’t come out til his death. This is very common. Do your homework before commenting

  2. Why does it take a person to die, to come forward with questionable allegations from someone that hopes public opinion and the media will try and convict a dead person? Why didn’t she come forward right away? So now she wants revenge. She has been a student at a great school that prides itself on turning out above average people. A school that listens to its students. Now it’s down to just finger pointing. Very sad.

    • “Elizabeth Smart, who was abducted and held captive for nine months when she was 14, told Vice that she felt being assaulted made her somehow less worthy. “I was kidnapped and I was raped, and one of the first thoughts I had was, ‘No one is ever going to want to marry me now. I’m worthless, I’m filthy, I’m dirty,'” she said. “…It was almost crippling.”

      • To try to make a point by bringing up Elizabeth’s Smart’s terrifying ordeal in an exchange addressing the impact of a consensual sex act between to adults is beyond understanding. Ms. Smart was, by law, a child, forcefully abducted and separated from her family and world, and repeatedly raped by a madman.

        Obviously your cut-and-paste skills far exceed your ability to think clearly.

      • A more apt comparison might be Monica Lewinsky. There’s no doubt she suffered irremedial emotional harm from the choices that she made (as an adult) yet I haven’t heard much hue and cry from women’s rights groups to have Bill Clinton’s name removed from public buildings. Nor should they. People are flawed. Seems like something we could all agree on.

    • The anonymous accuser/libeler (who seems to have waited years before saying anything) obviously feels safe now from cross-examination now that the accused, arguably libeled, person is gone and this rape-sniper has no fear that she will ever be contradicted, particularly since the “misandrist rape-posse activists”are there to attack anyone who dares venture a skeptical thought.

      Compassion and justice demands that any woman who cries rape should be instantly believed, without question, just like Tawana Brawley; The Duke LaCrosse Case stripper; or Sabrina Erdely’s classic “fact based” expose “A Rape on Campus”, where she exposed the horrors and unquestionable existence of the rape culture.

      Can someone help me here? If a person is innocent until proven guilty (an absolute fantasy in the case of a rape allegation, even when unsupported by any physical or other evidence) doesn’t it follow and require that an accuser is considered questionable until corroborated or proven believable?

      In any other case, except rape, cops are allowed to question a victim to extract corroborating details of their statement. In the case of rape, cops are generally required, by Agency policy, to instantly accept a bald accusation as a (nearly non-) rebuttable presumption.

      California Penal Code 263 — Rape; essentials; …”The essential guilt of rape consists in the outrage to the person and feelings of the victim of the rape…)…Feelings?…Outrage? This is an investigation based on emotion and not objective facts; which is why false accusations are so simple to concoct , so problematic to investigate, and so difficult to defend against.

      It would seem that the only rape victim here is the good name of the accused person who may be completely innocent, and who has been raped by the “feelings” and “outrage” of what appears to be a troubled young woman.

    • More than 90 % of victims never come forward at all. Tired of those who ask accusatory questions but know nothing about the subject

  3. > I derive as much from SJO’s postings. It’s like sarcasm, you either get it or you get upset.

    Mr. Cortese.

    Please.

    “Sarcasm” is what ignorant, low class clods do.

    We’re intellectuals here. It’s called “irony”.

  4. Even if it’s legal (because there have yet to be laws for emotional abuse), anyone with a strong moral compass can admit that emotionally manipulating, abusing and grooming underage children into legal “adulthood” is morally wrong and an inappropriate abuse of power who shouldn’t be allowed to be around young, vulnerable and impressionable kids. Just because she turned 18 doesn’t make what he did morally correct. He was calculated.

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