LOS ANGELES (CNS) - Two women who are now adults are suing the Long Beach Unified School District, alleging they were victims of sexual misconduct in 2013 by a substitute teacher at the Jackie Robinson Academy who also showed pornography to the class.
The plaintiffs are identified only as Jane Doe B.A. and Jane Doe V.E. in the Los Angeles Superior Court lawsuit brought Thursday, alleging childhood sexual assault, sexual battery, false imprisonment, intentional infliction of emotional distress, negligence and negligent retention and supervision.
The pair, both now 21 and Long Beach residents, seek unspecified damages. An LBUSD representative did not immediately reply to a request for comment.
The plaintiffs were eighth-grade students at Jackie Robinson Academy on Pine Avenue in the 2012-13 school year, the suit states. Their regular fifth-and sixth-period English teacher was absent on Feb. 11, 2013, and their substitute teacher was Pietro Dalia, according to the suit.
During the sixth period, Dalia, then 49, displayed “disturbing and inappropriate sexual behavior,'' the suit alleges. Shortly after class began, Dalia viewed pornography on his cell phone and shared the images with the students, the suit states.
Dalia later went to the whiteboard, picked up a toy dinosaur claw and, while standing in front of the class, started touching his private parts with the object, the suit states.
Responding to a complaint from a neighboring classroom about the noise and commotion generated by Dalia's actions, school principal Damita Myers-Miller went to the plaintiffs' classroom and asked the students what was happening, the suit states.
“She admonished the students, telling them that she did not want to hear any more calls complaining about them, and then left,'' the suit states.
Later, when Jane Doe B.A. began recording Dalia as he allegedly talked to other female students about pornography, the substitute teacher chased her to the back of the classroom and inappropriately touched the plaintiff, causing her to cry, the suit states.
Jane Doe V.E. and other students later that day reported Dalia's alleged behavior to Miller, but the principal was dismissive and responded, “If you are lying, you are going to get in trouble.'' the suit states.
School counselor Kennedy Dixon that same day asked Jane Doe B.A. what happened to her and, after hearing her account, rolled his eyes and said, “I don't want to hear any of this, go back to your class,'' according to the suit.
Jane Doe's mother and other parents met with Dixon and Miller the next day and both school officials told the group they did not believe their children's accusations against Dalia, the suit states.
“Principal Miller was angry and blamed the students,'' the suit states.
After Jane Doe B.A. returned to school, other students who found out about what had happened to her began to bully her, the suit states. When she sought help from Dixon, he told her, “Don't be causing problems or I am going to suspend you for two days,'' according to the suit.
Jane Doe B.A. felt betrayed by Dixon, who she felt was supposed to protect and believe her, the suit states. Her mother later enrolled her at a different middle school, hoping to limit the daily stress she was experiencing at Jackie Robinson Academy, the suit states.
Dalia continued to work as a teacher at the school until parents called the police, initiating a criminal investigation against him, the suit states. Criminal charges were brought against in September 2013 and he later pleaded no contest to four charges, the suit states.
The LBUSD and Jackie Robinson Academy administrator, knowing that Dalia had allegedly committed sexual assaults against the plaintiffs, failed to report to law enforcement authorities and other civil authorities the true facts and relevant information necessary to “bring Dalia to justice as well as protect their students,'' the suit states.
As a result of Dalia's alleged actions against Jane Doe B.A. she suffered depression, suicidal ideations and suicidal thoughts, the suit states.
The suit does not give details of any alleged abuse of Jane Doe V.E. by Dalia other than to allege she was the victim of a misdemeanor criminal statute of annoying or molesting a child.
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