BEAUMONT (CNS) - A local school district recently sued by a high schooler who was molested by a former teacher filed a cross-complaint against the former educator, arguing that she should be held liable for any damages and attorney fees the district could be forced to pay as a result of the lawsuit, court papers obtained today show.
The Beaumont Unified School District, former Beaumont High School Principal Christina Pierce and Assistant Principal Ian Young filed the complaint Monday against Samantha Lee Ciotta, 32, of Banning, who pleaded guilty in May to three felony counts of unlawful intercourse with a minor and was sentenced to four years probation.
The former English teacher at Beaumont High was arrested last September, three months after her illicit relationship with the then-16-year-old boy came to light. The student, a 10th-grader at the time, was identified only as John Doe in court documents.
According to an arrest warrant declaration, a relative of the teen texted the boy to ask if rumors swirling about him and Ciotta were true. The relative received replies that appeared to be suspicious, and they were later determined to have been sent by Ciotta's husband, according to the court document. It was unclear how Ciotta's husband obtained the victim's phone, but he admitted sending the messages to the boy's relative because he suspected his wife was having an affair with the student and wanted to find out more, according to the document.
The boy told police he had sex with Ciotta on numerous occasions, but could not remember the exact number of times because he was usually intoxicated during their meetings, according to the declaration. He said he initially covered for her, but later decided to stop lying when Ciotta had sex with his 19-year-old friend.
In April, Doe filed a lawsuit against the school district, Pierce and Young, alleging that while the sexual abuse was occurring, his guardian and at least one other teacher reported their concerns to school administrators, but nothing was done.
The boy's attorneys contend that ``school administrators were aware of numerous red flags showing that the relationship between Ms. Ciotta and our client was becoming inappropriate.''Some of those ``red flags'' include regularly having Doe spend the night at her house, buying gifts for the teen, including ``a phone, expensive shoes, bluetooth speakers,'' and rumors of Ciotta's relationship with the boy and alcohol use with him and other students.
His lawsuit also alleges that Ciotta ``engaged in unlawful sexual-related conduct with minors in the past at prior schools, as well as with additional minors at Beaumont High School, both on and off school premises.''Ciotta previously held a teaching position at La Quinta High School.
The school district has denied any wrongdoing and alleges that any injuries caused to Doe should be Ciotta's responsibility, as well as ``all sums incurred by cross-complainants by reason of said judgment, settlement, expense of investigation, and expense and costs of litigation, in defending the instant lawsuit.''