Dad Demands Answers from LAUSD After 11-Year-Old Daughter's Sexual Assault

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No Action Taken After 11-Year-Old Girl Reports Sexual Harassment at John Muir Middle School

No Action Taken After 11-Year-Old Girl Reports Sexual Harassment at John Muir Middle School

Oct 6, 2023

The father of a John Muir Middle School sixth-grade student is demanding answers after Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) officials failed to take disciplinary action against a boy who is alleged to have sexually assaulted the man’s daughter.

Ivan Benitez told Fox 11 Los Angeles that the LAUSD has “failed me and has failed my daughter” through its inaction following repeated complaints related to alleged sexual harassment of an 11-year-old girl by a fellow student.

Fox 11 reported that the girl documented the alleged incidents in her journal, writing:

  • “I would always try avoiding him; I would walk the other way if I saw him coming.”
  • “Every time I left first period, he would smack my butt, and he would try to grab my boobs.”

The girl told Fox 11 that the interactions with the boy started “innocently” at the beginning of the school year, noting that she did not know anyone else on campus at the time and the classmate was “friendly.”

“We started talking, and we started dating. He wasn’t touchy at first, but then he started to get more touchy where I would feel uncomfortable with him touching me,” she said to Fox’s Gina Silva.

The girl also indicated that as things progressed and the fellow student made her more uncomfortable, she “started hiding from the boy” who soon became “angry and aggressive.”

When the girl’s father discovered the allegations of ongoing sexual harassment, he immediately contacted LAUSD officials. But Fox 11 reported that Los Angeles Unified representatives told the concerned father that the allegations described by his daughter do “not meet the criteria for tier-one sexual harassment.”

“[The father] says they suggested moving his daughter to another school in the district,” Fox 11 reported.

The Los Angeles Unified School District reportedly issued the following statement:

At John Muir Middle School for Advanced Studies & Science Technology Engineering Mathematics Magnet, the safety and well-being of all students and staff remains our top priority. While we cannot disclose any information regarding student matters due to confidentiality, we want to reassure our families that we are committed to the safety of everyone in our school community.”

Annalisa Enrile, a USC School of Social Work professor, told Fox that communication between parents and children related to sexual harassment is critical, and noted the importance of talking with kids about relationships as well as boundaries.

“I think the biggest takeaway for parents here is communication,” Enrile said.

“We really should be educating both our boys and our girls about how to be respectful, how to be communicative, how to ask for consent.”

Sexual Abuse Claims Continue to Impact Los Angeles-Area Schools

Sexual Abuse Claims Continue to Impact Los Angeles-Area Schools

Sadly, countless cases of school sexual abuse and misconduct are regularly reported in Southern California. Earlier this week, Pedro Antonio Tellez – an employee of John Muir Elementary School in Glendale – was arrested and booked on felony charges of Lewd Acts on a Minor Under the Age of 14 years after the parents of two victims separately reported that their child had been touched inappropriately.

The Tellez arrest is one of many examples of school sexual abuse cases which have impacted students from various area districts in recent years:

Many of these school sexual abuse cases have led to civil lawsuits being filed by parents of victims. Following the claims being filed against school districts and liable parties (whether teachers, faculty/staff, coaches, etc.), many major settlements have been awarded to victims:

How Common is Child Sexual Abuse? (U.S. Statistics for 2023)

Sexual abuse impacting children is actually far more common than many people realize. Some statistics which reflect this troubling issue include:

  • According to a 2003 National Institute of Justice report, three out of four adolescents who have been sexually assaulted were victimized by someone they knew well.
  • A Bureau of Justice Statistics report shows 1.6 % (sixteen out of one thousand) of children between the ages of 12-17 were victims of rape/sexual assault.
  • A study conducted in 1986 found that 63% of women who had suffered sexual abuse by a family member also reported a rape or attempted rape after the age of 14. Recent studies in 2000, 2002, and 2005 have all concluded similar results.
  • Children who had an experience of rape or attempted rape in their adolescent years were 13.7 times more likely to experience rape or attempted rape in their first year of college.
  • A child who is the victim of prolonged sexual abuse usually develops low self-esteem, a feeling of worthlessness and an abnormal or distorted view of sex. The child may become withdrawn and mistrustful of adults, and can become suicidal.
  • Children who do not live with both parents as well as children living in homes marked by parental discord, divorce, or domestic violence, have a higher risk of being sexually abused.
  • In the vast majority of cases where there is credible evidence that a child has been penetrated, only between five and 15% of those children will have genital injuries consistent with sexual abuse.
  • Child sexual abuse is not solely restricted to physical contact; such abuse could include noncontact abuse, such as exposure, voyeurism, and child pornography.
  • Compared to those with no history of sexual abuse, young males who were sexually abused were five times more likely to cause teen pregnancy, three times more likely to have multiple sexual partners and two times more likely to have unprotected sex, according to the study published online and in the June print issue of the Journal of Adolescent Health.

Spotting signs of School Sexual Abuse Under California Law?

As the National Center for Victims of Crime (NCVC) notes, the prevalence of childhood sexual abuse is difficult to determine because it is often not reported. Many experts, however, are of the belief that these types of crimes actually occur far more often than the number of claims that which are brought to the attention of authorities reflect. Additionally, child sexual abuse is not uniformly defined, so statistics may vary, per the NCVC.

A U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Children’s Bureau report from 2010 entitled “Child Maltreatment” found that 9.2% of victimized children were sexually assaulted.

David Finkelhor, Director of the Crimes Against Children Research Center, has published numerous studies related to child sex abuse which indicate that:

  • One in five girls and one in 20 boys is a victim of child sexual abuse;
  • Self-report studies show that 20% of adult females and 5-10% of adult males recall a childhood sexual assault or sexual abuse incident;
  • During a one-year period in the U.S., 16% of youth ages 14 to 17 had been sexually victimized;
  • Over the course of their lifetime, 28% of U.S. youth ages 14 to 17 had been sexually victimized;
  • Children are most vulnerable to sexual abuse between the ages of 7 and 13.

How to File a Los Angeles Unified School District Sex Abuse Claim

If you have questions about your school sexual abuse civil lawsuit, contact Dordulian Law Group (DLG) today for a free and confidential consultation.

DLG was founded by Sam Dordulian, a former sex crimes prosecutor and Deputy District Attorney for Los Angeles County whose more than 25 years of experience includes obtaining life sentences against some of the local community’s most dangerous sexual predators. Dordulian leads a group of professionals with an array of sex crimes experience known as the SAJE Team (Sexual Assault Justice Experts). DLG’s SAJE Team is comprised of four tiers of school sexual abuse resources:

  • A team of dedicated attorneys
  • An in-house retired LAPD sex crimes detective
  • An in-house licensed clinical therapist
  • An in-house victim advocate

Ready to file a claim and pursue justice through a financial damages award? Our expert attorneys are available online or by phone now.

Together, the DLG SAJE Team offers survivors of school sexual abuse and their families peace of mind and confidence throughout every step of the litigation process.

Contact us today at 866-GO-SEE-SAM for your free and confidential Los Angeles Unified School District sexual abuse case.

Go See Sam