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PALO ALTO (CBS SF) — School district officials under fire for their handling of sexual assault and harassment reports were promising to thoroughly investigate 18 new claims that have been filed in the last month.

Palo Alto Unified School District Superintendent Max McGee told KCBS that “several of the more recent complaints are things that happened at weekend parties.”

He has recommended bringing in an outside investigator to help with the cases.

“I think we will be much more efficient (with the investigator onboard) about completing these investigations in a timely manner,” he told KCBS.

On Wednesday night, the school board held a special session and was told there are more than 20 open investigations stemming back to the beginning of the school year.

Of the 18 sexual assault or harassment cases logged in May, three occurred in 2015 and three in 2016.

Recently, a Palo Alto High student was found guilty of an off-campus sexual assault.

One young female student told KCBS reports of that incident have given others the courage to step forward.

“I think that might have increased people reporting it (sexual assaults and harassment), feeling their story will actually be held,” she told KCBS.

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