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Thursday, April 25, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Court Revives Student’s Suit Over Alleged Assault

(CN) - A California appeals court revived a special-needs student's lawsuit accusing the Los Angeles County Unified School District of negligently allowing another special-needs student to sexually assault her.

The trial court granted summary judgment to the school district, but Justice Yegan reversed the decision, citing triable issues of material fact.

Fourteen-year-old Jennifer C. was mainstreamed with other students during her 30-minute lunch break. Tony J. led her to the edge of campus, to an alcove that was visible to pedestrians but not to people at school. A parent alerted a school official that two students were having sex in the alcove.

Campus aide Maria Sanchez found the students partially undressed, and Tony ran away. Jennifer said he sexually assaulted her. Sanchez had checked the alcove five times during the lunch break before the incident took place.

The fact that the alcove was a problem area that Sanchez was instructed to check regularly satisfies the plaintiff's claim that the attack for foreseeable.

"Maintenance of a hiding place where a special-needs child can be victimized satisfies the foreseeability factor," Yegan wrote.

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