Woman Settles Suit Alleging Abuse as Student by LBUSD Substitute Teacher

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LONG BEACH (CNS) - An adult woman has tentatively settled her lawsuit against the Long Beach Unified School District, in which she alleged she was the victim of sexual misconduct in 2013 by a substitute teacher at the Jackie Robinson Academy who also showed pornography to the class.

The plaintiff is identified only as Jane Doe B.A. in the Long Beach Superior Court lawsuit that alleged childhood sexual assault, sexual battery, false imprisonment, intentional infliction of emotional distress, negligence and negligent retention and supervision. Her attorneys filed a notice of "conditional" settlement on Thursday with Judge Mark C. Kim.

No terms were divulged and it was not immediately clear if the accord is subject to approval by the LBUSD Board of Education. Trial was scheduled to begin March 27. A second plaintiff in the case when it was filed, identified only as Jane Doe V.E., dropped her claims last April.

In their court papers, LBUSD attorneys argued that the district could not be deemed liable for the alleged misconduct of the substitute teacher, Pietro Dalia, because his conduct was "outside the course and scope of employment."

The plaintiff's attorneys also had no evidence that Dalia was negligently hired or that there was information in his background that should have warned the district not to give him his job, according to the court papers of the district lawyers.

The plaintiff, now in her early 20s and a Long Beach resident, was in the eighth grade at Jackie Robinson Academy on Pine Avenue in the 2012-13 school year, the suit stated. Her regular fifth- and sixth-period English teacher was absent on Feb. 11, 2013, and Dalia was her substitute teacher, 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 filed in August 2021 stated.

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 stated.

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 stated.

"She admonished the students, telling them that she did not want to hear any more calls complaining about them, and then left," the suit stated.

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 stated.

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 stated.

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.

Parents of the students 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 stated.

"Principal Miller was angry and blamed the students," the suit stated.

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 stated. 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 stated. 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 stated.

Dalia continued to work as a teacher at the school until parents called the police, initiating a criminal investigation against him, the suit stated. Criminal charges were brought against him in September 2013 and he later pleaded no contest to four charges, the suit stated.

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 stated.

As a result of Dalia's alleged actions against Jane Doe B.A., she suffered depression, suicidal ideations and suicidal thoughts, the suit stated.

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