Long Beach School District Sued for Sexual Assault of 13 Year Old
A lawsuit was filed against Long Beach Unified School District on September 19, 2023 by the guardian of a 13-year-old female, who was sexually assaulted at John Muir Elementary, also known as John Muir K-8 Academy. In the lawsuit, school officials are accused of failing to take actions that could have prevented the assault.
The incident in which the female student was attacked occurred in May 2023. The student complained of feeling sick and was allowed to go to the nurse’s office. On her way there, she was followed by a male student who called out her name. The male student made sexual advances, which she rejected. At that point, the perpetrator pulled the victim into an area of the stairwell, where he grabbed her throat, knocked her down, and sexually assaulted her. According to the lawsuit, the incident caused the victim physical injuries, as well as severe emotional trauma.
While this incident is disturbing enough on its own, even more shocking is the fact that school administrators had knowledge of the boy’s propensity for violence. His behavior was so alarming that the teachers created a text message chain. This was to notify each other when the student was out of class for over 5 minutes, “at which point they were to alert security,” said the lawsuit.
The question is, why didn’t the district do more to protect innocent students, like the young girl whose attack could have been prevented? Why was the student on campus at all and allowed to roam the hallways alone for even 5 minutes at a time? And if there were repeated incidents of violence involving this student, was he ever suspended or investigated by law enforcement?
In all honesty, John Muir is one of many schools in California where students are at risk of sexual abuse. These incidents are often traced to negligence and misconduct by officials of the school district. That’s why it’s important for loved one of underage victims to learn about their legal rights from a school sexual assault lawsuit attorney. If you or someone you know was sexually abused at John Muir Elementary or any LBUSD school, please contact us to learn about the legal options that are available to you.
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Suing a School District for Student on Student Sexual Assault
As there is a clear perpetrator of the abuse at John Muir Elementary, here is a question that you may have if you or your loved one was sexually abused, “Can I sue a school district for sexual assault committed by one of their students?”
Yes, it’s possible to sue a school district for incidents of sexual abuse on campus, and this rule applies whether the assailant is a student or staff member. Essentially, the school has a duty to ensure that their students are safe and protected from incidents like sexual harassment and assault. Of course, they can’t predict when such incidents will happen, but they must take action if there are complaints of sexual abuse, including contacting the parents and police, providing constant supervision to the student at risk, and other safety precautions.
However, many school districts fail to take complaints seriously, and often tell the victim that they are making a big deal out of nothing. Or, they will tell the victim or those who report the incident that there will be an investigation by the school district. Instead, the complaint is quickly forgotten about or ignored, which is completely unethical, not to mention, illegal. Aside from criminal prosecution, those who failed to take action may be sued by the victim or their family members.
The Consequences of School Sexual Abuse
It’s not hard to elicit outrage when a teacher or other employee at a school commits sexual assault against a child. But it’s a different story when the abuser is a student. Even in this day and age, people are divided on whether an underage assailant should be punished for acts of sexual abuse. After all, it’s just kids being kids, right?
Granted, many kids are the victims of bullying and harassment during their school years, but no one should be physically and sexually assaulted on school grounds, which is what happened to the female student at John Muir K-8 Academy. According to the lawsuit filed by the victim’s guardians, she has suffered “extensive physical, psychological and emotional damages” as a result of being attacked in this brutal manner.
Bodily harm and psychological damage from a sexual assault can result in the following:
Cuts, scratches, and abrasions
Broken bones / fractures
Head trauma, such as brain injury
Exposure to or transmission of STDs
Permanent damage to the reproductive organs
Post-traumatic stress – flashbacks, nightmares, panic attacks, extreme anxiety, etc.
Depression, leading to suicidal ideation and increased risk of eating disorders and self-harming behaviors
Compensation Available for School Sexual Abuse Victims
Compensation from a lawsuit is based on the injuries (physical or mental) you’ve suffered as a result of negligence by one or more entities. That’s why each and every case must be examined in order to determine what types of payments are owed to the victim. Monetary damages from a student sexual abuse lawsuit include:
Economic damages – medical expenses, lost wages / income opportunities, property damage
Non-economic damages – pain and suffering, emotional distress, loss of consortium
Punitive / treble damages
Punitive damages are awarded in cases of gross negligence, which means the victim’s conduct was particularly outrageous. A school district, for example, may have a long history of ignoring sexual abuse complaints, which puts many students at risk. School officials may also engage in cover-up attempts, like destruction of or concealing evidence. In these situations, a jury can award the victim treble damages, which is an amount that’s three times their actual settlement. That’s why it’s not unusual to see verdicts of $3,000,000 and above with these cases, though even claims that are settled out of court typically exceed $500,000.
Statute of Limitations for a School Sexual Assault Lawsuit
Those who were sexually abused prior to the age of 18 have 22 years after turning the age of majority to file a compensation claim (up until the age of 40). That means you may qualify for a lawsuit even if you were abused at John Muir Elementary or another California public school many years ago.
However, we advise that you speak to an experienced childhood sexual abuse attorney as soon as possible. Our goal is to advise you of your rights and legal actions, and let you decide for yourself if a lawsuit is right for you. If you decide to pursue a case against the school district, you will need extensive evidence and expert knowledge of the laws, which is where we can be of help. Considering the time and effort that’s required to succeed in these cases, it’s in your best interest to contact us immediately, regardless of how much time you have under the statute of limitations.
Contact the Attorneys of DTLA Law Group
Legal advice is crucial when you have suffered abuse due to another party’s negligence, and this is particularly true when a child is assaulted at their school. This is supposed to be a place of safety, yet many children live in fear due to a school district’s failure to take action against dangerous students.
Our law firm has decades of litigation experience involving public school sex abuse claims, including student-on-student sexual assault. We are more than ready to help you sue LBUSD or any other school district in the state of California if they are liable for an incident of sexual assault. Our services include the Zero Fee Guarantee, which is our way of protecting your finances while you wait for compensation. No victim should have to pay for the cost of legal services, which is why we ask the school district to cover the cost of representing you. That means we only get paid if you receive payment from a successful lawsuit.
The school sexual assault lawyers of DTLA are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, so contact us to schedule a free case evaluation.
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