Wednesday, August 14, 2013

California Appellate Court Upholds Claim of Failure to Prevent Rape Against School District


In a recent appellate decision coming from an appeal of the trial court's ruling in the Los Angeles Superior Court (East District in Pomona, CA), the Court of Appeal has allowed a claim to proceed forward against the Claremont Unified School District for failure to prevent the rape of a student. (See Link Here: http://www.metnews.com/articles/2013/ar081413.htm).

The facts of the case were that a female student was allegedly sexually assaulted by a male member of the Claremont High School football team.  The sexual assault occurred in a public park bathroom near the school campus but, not on school property.  The plaintiff alleged that the school district was aware that the perpetrator had been accused of committing sexual assaults prior to this incident and should have taken action. The claimant further alleges that the failure to act was in direct contradiction to written policies and procedures from the school district.  The appellate court has agreed and says that these allegations of violation of procedure distinguish the case from other claims were violent acts were committed off school grounds (citing to Brownell v. Los Angeles Unified School District (1992) 4 Cal.App.4th 787 [involving a gang shooting off campus]).

This is a good decision for victims of sexual assault.  In my opinion, if it is certified for even partial publication, it will provide legal precedent for holding institutions like schools responsible if they know of the propensities of a sexual predator and they fail to take action to prevent that person from committing future sexual misconduct.

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