Raised in the idyllic and close-knit northern California town of Moraga, Kristen Lewis Cunnane had it all at 12: a treasured family, close friends, a valued position on a variety of sports teams, and excellent grades. By any pre-teen’s standards, hers was certainly a life to envy.
Unfortunately, this happiness was to be short-lived as Kristen suffered sexual abuse at the hands of her middle school science teacher. Afraid to discuss the event with her parents or close friends, Kristen turned to a trusted female coach and teacher for guidance. When they first met, Julie Correa was seemingly the perfect role model for a naive 11-year-old. However, this woman spent years earning Kristen’s trust while at the same time manipulating her psyche. In a sickeningly ironic twist, this so-called mentor ultimately transformed Kristen’s life into one of sexual slavery over the entirety of her high school tenure. With controlling and calculated precision, Correa was able to both isolate Kristen from her family and simultaneously assault her in her childhood bedroom.
In this podcast, Kristen shares here haunting, insightful, and inspiring story that showcases a deplorable side of humanity while at the same time manages to remind us of the sheer strength of the human spirit.
BOOK: UNDOING JANE DOE
Kristen’s book Undoing Jane Doe chronicles her heartbreaking experience and the harrowing aftermath that nearly drove her to suicide. Using actual transcripts from pretexual phone calls and court records, Cunnane takes the reader through the years of prolonged abuse and the eventual takedown of a sexual predator.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HkCbZbYzCWQ (2012), 9:15
https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=fKLZpz0MaW4 (2013), 4:32
“Kristen’s Secret,” CBS 48 Hours (2014), 43:13
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Kristen Lewis (Cunnane) was a star student and multi-sport athlete in her middle school and high school in California who went on to become an Academic All-American (majoring in history) and captain of the swimming team at UCLA, accomplished enough in that sport to make the semifinals of the Olympic Trials in 2004 in butterfly. Pursuing a master’s in education at Cal-Berkeley, she first volunteered as an assistant for the women’s swim team, then was hired to be an assistant coach, and finally moved up to associate head coach under Teri McKeever. Given chief responsibility for recruiting, Kristen played a key role in the success Cal had in winning four NCAA championships between 2009 and 2015, when she finally retired to start raising a family, now including three children, with her high school sweetheart Scott Cunnane.