VAN NUYS (CNS) - A former Birmingham Community Charter High School student is suing the school and an ex-athletic trainer who allegedly sexually abused her while ostensibly treating her in 2022 and telling the girl, "It's just a massage."
The plaintiff is identified only as Jane Doe in the Van Nuys Superior Court lawsuit against the school and former trainer Richard Alexander Turner, 64, who is charged with 12 sex-related counts involving 12 girls while he worked at Birmingham High and one other high school in the San Fernando Valley. The lawsuit states that the plaintiff is one of the victims in the criminal case.
A representative for the Lake Balboa high school did not immediately reply to a request for comment on the suit filed March 10 and which alleges negligence, civil rights violations, sexual battery, battery, assault, negligent hiring, false imprisonment, intentional infliction of emotional distress and negligent supervision, retention, training and retention.
Doe, a minor, seeks unspecified damages.
The suit alleges that the Birmingham High administration knew or should have known of sexual harassment complaints against Turner, including a 2017 complaint by a female student at Van Nuys High School who reported being touched inappropriately by him, according to the suit, which further states that a police report was filed and Turner was fired.
But last June, when Doe was 15 years old, she was "battered, assaulted and falsely imprisoned" by Turner, who was called "R.T." by students, the suit states.
"Turner instructed Doe to lie face down on a table, where he began massaging her shoulders and upper back before he inappropriately touched her and said, "It's just a massage," the suit alleges.
Birmingham High was negligent in allowing Turner to be alone in a private setting with female athletes and should have known that this encouraged him to abuse them, the suit alleges.
Doe continues to suffer emotional distress, humiliation, shame and despair because of the alleged abuse, according to the suit.