Recently, an article by the Insider, titled How one Southern California school district kept decades of misconduct records secret, revealed a disturbing history of sexual misconduct by teachers working for the El Monte Union High School District. According to the Insider, district officials, including Superintendent Edward Zuniga, were “sitting on a large cache of teacher disciplinary records going back to at least the early 1990s.”
The writer of the article, Matt Drange, was able to corroborate dozens of student sexual abuse incidents involving 20 teachers, over a period of 40 years. The records clearly indicate sexually inappropriate behavior by these educators, ranging from sexual comments about student’s bodies to sexual relationships that went on for years.
Sadly, concealing evidence of sexual abuse by teachers and enabling their crimes against children is very common with school systems in California. According to an Education Week article titled “Keeping Predators Out of Classrooms,” only around 1 to 5% sexual abuse complaints by educators are reported to the police or child protective services. This is a crime under California’s mandatory reporting laws, but it can also make school districts liable in a lawsuit filed by the victim of their family members.
Were you sexually abused by a teacher or another trusted adult while you were attending a EMUHSD school? The legal experts of DTLA Law Group would like the opportunity to educate you on your rights and legal options. For a free case evaluation with an El Monte Union High School District school sexual abuse lawsuit attorney, contact us today.
The Wall of Secrecy Around School Sexual Abuse
In a practice known as “passing the trash,” the district was only too happy to get rid of a problematic teacher by deliberately concealing misconduct reports. For example, district officials allowed school Activities Director Paul Arevalo to keep working at Baldwin Park High School, even though he was investigated twice by law enforcement for sexual harassment of students.
Before his job with Baldwin Park, Arevalo was a business teacher at Rosemead High School, which is part of the El Monte Union High School District. El Monte officials said that there was no misconduct or disciplinary records against him. Furthermore, Baldwin Park officials declined to tell Insider what steps they took prior to hiring Arevalo to ensure that students would be safe around him. In short, both districts knew that Arevalo was a sexual abuser of students, yet they enabled him to continue his crimes against innocent children.
If anything, they seemed more interested in protecting Arevalo’s rights than the safety of their students. When Matt Drange of Insider asked for claims of sexual harassment against Arevalo from the district under the California Public Records Act, the school gave a litany of excuses. The district’s lawyers, for example, said that information in a teacher’s personnel files were exempt from the California Public Records Act. Superintendent Zuniga also cited the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, saying that his refusal to disclose the records was to protect the student’s privacy.
It is truly astounding when school districts claim that they are protecting the students when they conceal records of sexual abuse by their teachers. The truth is, they want to avoid the embarrassment of being associated with a sexual predator, especially one that preys on children. That’s why they fail to conduct investigations or bury evidence once it’s uncovered. They also allow the teacher to resign with a spotless record, thereby making them another district’s problem.
This is a classic example of how sexual abusers get away with their crimes year after year, while countless children are left to suffer the consequences. The Insider investigation is a valuable tool in the fight against child sexual abuse, but so are the victims that are brave enough to speak out and demand justice for what they went through. If negligence by school officials enabled a teacher to sexually abuse you, contact us to speak with a lawyer that can help you sue the El Monte Union High School District.
Can I Sue the El Monte Union High School District?
Yes, you can file a lawsuit for sexual abuse against the El Monte Union High School District or any other school district in Southern California. Your right to sue is based on whether the school had knowledge of what happened to you and how they chose to respond to those allegations. Generally, it’s a failure to respond that’s at the heart of most of these lawsuits, which is certainly the case with EMUHSD officials.
Aside from failing to contact the authorities and not turning over records of sexual abuse, the district transferred abusers from one school to another, instead of removing them completely from the school system. School administrators also threw away investigative records once the predatory teachers left the district, though certain records must be kept indefinitely according to California laws. The district also failed to share allegations of sexual contact with other school districts that went on to hire these teachers.
Frankly, these are just some of the abuses that the El Monte Union High School District engaged in. The entire list of deliberate misconduct and negligence is astounding to say the least, and there are more than enough grounds for a lawsuit against the school district.
If you are interested in suing a California school district for sexual abuse, contact the attorneys of DTLA Law Group.
Class Action Lawsuits against School Districts for Concealing Evidence of Child Sexual Assault
Class action lawsuits can be filed against a school district by multiple victims who were sexually abused by a teacher or another school employee. With the recent revelations about sexual abuse at EMUHSD schools, there may be hundreds of victims that will come forward in the upcoming months. It’s more than likely that many of these victims will join together in a child sexual abuse class action claim.
To be a part of an El Monte Union High School District school sexual abuse class action lawsuit, simply contact our law firm at your earliest convenience. We have a ready team of class action lawyers that can talk to you about these lawsuits and ensure that this is the path you want to take. There are situations where a personal injury lawsuit (filing a claim on your own) may be the right choice, but you won’t know for sure unless you understand the pros and cons of each legal action.
Average Case Value of a Student-Teacher Sexual Abuse Lawsuit
A lawsuit for the sexual abuse of a student by a teacher is worth anywhere from $1,500,000 to $5,000,000 for the vast majority of cases at our law firm. Settlement values for school sexual abuse class action lawsuits are typically in excess of $10,000,000, but you must keep in mind that the settlement is split between multiple victims.
Though it’s helpful to have an estimate of case values, what you can recover depends on the specific details of the abuse you suffered and the injuries you were left to deal with. Negligence by school officials is another critical factor, especially if there is clear evidence that the school district hid records and other evidence of sexual abuse against a student. These and other issues in your case will help us determine the right amount to ask for, which we will fight to recover on behalf of you and your loved ones. If you were sexually abused at Rosemead High School or any other public school in Southern California, call us to find out how much you can receive from a student sexual assault lawsuit.
Amount of Time to Settle a Lawsuit against a School District
On average, a public school sexual abuse lawsuit takes around 1 to 2 years to settle if you are filing a personal injury claim. It takes about 2 to 3 years to settle a student sexual abuse class action lawsuit if we are able to negotiate a settlement with the school district. If court intervention is required in the form of a trial, it can take around 3 to 5 years to obtain compensation from a lawsuit against the El Monte Union High School District.
Class action lawsuits take longer than personal injury claims on average, and this is due to the legal requirements for a class action, which are imposed by the court system. The school district’s cooperation during the settlement process is another critical factor. Though many districts eventually settle for an amount that’s agreeable to the victim, the negotiation process takes 1 or more years in many of these cases.
This is just a sampling of the issues that can affect how long it takes to settle a Southern California school district sexual abuse lawsuit. For a full discussion of the case resolution process, please schedule a free case review with an El Monte Union High School District school sexual abuse lawsuit lawyer.
Statute of Limitations for Sexual Abuse against Minors
If you were under 18 at the time you were sexually abused, you have until your 40th birthday to file a child sexual assault lawsuit. If you were 18 years or older at the time, your statute of limitations is 10 years from the incident, or the most recent incident if there were multiple occasions where you were abused by a school staff member.
Time limits for a child sexual abuse lawsuit are very generous in California, and it’s clear that the laws recognize how difficult it is to come forward with an accusation of sexual abuse or harassment. In fact, many adults are unable to come to terms with the abuse until they are well into adulthood. This is especially true if the victim represses memories of what happened to them. As a result, they struggle with trauma-based disorders like drug and alcohol abuse, self-harm, suicidal thoughts, and depression. Once they get help from a therapist, they realize how sexual abuse during their school years has impacted their life.
The discovery of psychological wounds from child sexual abuse can happen at any age. This is why victims in California are allowed to file a lawsuit within 5 years from the date of discovery. Essentially, you can file a lawsuit at any age – even if you are older than 40 – under the terms of the discovery rule.
As you can see, statute of limitations is a rather complicated concept when it comes to school sexual abuse lawsuits. Considering how important it is to get this right, please contact us to verify the amount of time you have to file an El Monte Union High School District sexual abuse lawsuit.
Contact DTLA Law Group
Right now, learning about your rights and legal options is one of the most important things you can do as a victim of sexual abuse while at Rosemead High or any other public school in California. Our lawyers are here to answer your questions and offer guidance on how you can seek justice through the court system. However, there is no pressure to do anything you’re not 100% comfortable with – our job is to provide you with information and let you decide if a lawsuit is in your best interest. All you have to do is contact us and schedule a free consultation.
As we want to help victims at any stage of the legal process, we also provide free second opinions if you have an active claim for sexual abuse at a California school. Whether you start a lawsuit with us or decide to switch over to our law firm, we charge you $0 out of pocket under the Zero Fee Guarantee. With this policy, the cost of legal services is charged to the school district, which is only paid to us if we win your case. That means we make absolutely nothing unless you receive payment from a successful lawsuit.
Justice may be delayed, but it doesn’t have to be denied when you have the school sexual abuse lawyers of DTLA by your side. Call us today and find out how you can sue a California school district for student sexual harassment or sexual assault.