Mom Says Charter School Stood By|As Teacher Preyed on her Daughter

SAN FRANCISCO (CN) – A mother claims that Willits Unified School District did nothing to stop a charter school teacher from sexually abusing her 15-year-old daughter, and invaded the girl’s privacy disclosing “intimate facts” about the sexual misconduct in “a public announcement to the entire student body.”




     In her federal complaint, Jane Doe adds that teachers at the Willits Charter School have ostracized her since she objected to the teacher’s fondling her daughter’s butt at a teachers’ party.
     Doe says the school district did not discipline Clint Smith, 38, though he engaged in oral sex and intercourse with her daughter for almost a year.
     Doe says the molestation began with kissing and fondling, but escalated when Smith had oral sex with her daughter during a Willits Charter School camping trip to Yosemite National Park in June 2008.
     Doe says she saw Smith fondling her daughter’s buttocks at a school party held at another teacher’s home. Doe “became enraged and physically attacked Smith in the presence of other Willits Charter School teachers” the complaint states. “She was then asked to leave the party and has not been welcomed to any school related social events since.”
     Two students also saw the butt-grabbing and reported it to another parent, who reported it to a Willits Charter School board member, Doe says. She says the board member told her that principal Sally Rulison was “handling it.”
     But the mom says Smith was allowed to continue the sexual relationship, and had unprotected sex with her daughter during and after school, “at his residence and in the back of his Toyota Hybrid SUV in a bank parking lot during school recess.”
     She claims Smith masturbated naked on a Web cam during chats with her daughter.
     The mom says that principal Rulison learned about the sexual relationship in early December 2008, but “took no measures to prevent any physical contact or emotional entanglement between Smith and [her daughter] after either the June 2008 or December 2008 reports of Smith’s inappropriate conduct.”
     She claims that Rulison asked that the girl not attend school for a day and in her absence “made a public announcement to the entire student body, disclosing intimate facts” about Smith’s relationship with the girl, “including details of the sexual misconduct.”
     The girl and her mother seek general and punitive damages for civil rights violations, denial of equal protection, negligent hiring and invasion of privacy. They named as defendants Willits Unified School District, Willits Charter School, Rulison and Smith.
     The girl and her mother are represented by J. David Nick of San Francisco and E.D. Lerman of Mendocino, who declined to comment on the case.
     The Willits News reported on Aug. 7 that a Mendocino County Superior Court judge sentenced Smith to 180 days in the county jail and 3 years probation, with a suspended 4-year prison sentence.
     The mother told the newspaper she was “shocked” and “appalled” at the light sentence.
     Smith will not have to register as a sex offender, though prosecutors recommended a 3-year sentence and that he be required to register, the News reported.
     The News said that a “family spokeswoman” told it after the sentencing: “As a grandparent and former teacher, I am outraged by the therapist’s and judge’s statement that Clint Smith’s (passive) personality was a major part of the problem in having a sexual relationship with a young female, and that he was not able to stand up against a strong preadolescent female’s personality.”

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