in gay child sex assault case
By Pamela Sroka-Holzmann firstname.lastname@example.org
The former Deputy Coroner for Carbon and Schuylkill counties was sentenced last week to eight to 16 years behind bars for sexually abusing of a minor.
Last week's sentence will be served consecutive to Smith's prior sentence of six to 20 years imposed for soliciting an undercover agent. A hearing to determine if Smith is a sexually violent predator will be scheduled at a later date.
Charges were filed against Smith in December 2017, after investigators found images of a boy on Smith's cellphone. Smith confirmed he knew the child and provided the child's name to investigators, authorities said. Agents interviewed the victim, who said that Smith had sexual contact with him multiple times when he was 14 to 16 years old, according to authorities.
The former Pennsylvania death investigator was also caught in a child sex assault sting, authorities said.
The charges followed Smith's initial arrest in September 2017 for soliciting sex from an undercover agent who was posing as a 14-year-old boy online.
Shapiro applauded the effort of prosecutors involved in the agency's Child Predator Section in the sentencing. "This victim was horrifically assaulted on multiple occasions," he said in a statement. "My office will aggressively investigate and prosecute anyone who abuses children -- no matter who commits the crime."
Authorities said the sex abuse began in 2015 and happened at Smith's home. Smith paid the victim to pose for the photos Smith took on his phone and for sexual favors under the guise of receiving payment for legitimate work, authorities said.
Both cases against Smith were prosecuted by Deputy Attorney General Angela Raver.
Eleven children who were rescued from a compound in New Mexico on Friday where they were being held by their 'Muslim extremist' parents were discovered after a message was somehow sent to the outside pleading for help.
The children are aged between one and 15. Some are siblings and some are cousins.
They had been held underground at a ramshackle compound in Alamia, New Mexico, for months.
The FBI was monitoring the site for two months but never searched it because they did not have an arrest warrant, Taos County Sheriff Jerry Hogrefe said on Monday.
On Friday, however, the sheriff's office intercepted a message that was written either by one of the children or by one of their mothers which read: 'We are starving and we need food and water.'
Authorities will not say how the message was delivered or who gave it to them but Sheriff Hogrefe said it meant he could not wait any longer for federal authorities to move in on the site.
He enlisted a special forces team to lead the raid because he knew the men inside were heavily armed, he added.
The children were being held there by 39-year-old Siraj Ibn Wahhaj, an imam's son from New York City who has been missing since December when he abducted his three-year-old special needs son from Georgia.
Siraj Ibn Wahhaj, 39, had an AR-15 rifle, 150 rounds of ammunition and four loaded pistols at the site. He has been on the run since December when he vanished with his three-year-old disabled son from Georgia. The toddler was not found. His brother-in-law Lucas Morton (right) was also charged with harboring a fugitive. He is married to Siraj's sister Subhanah
It was this abduction which triggered the FBI investigation.
On Friday, Wahhaj was found in the compound with an AR-15 rifle, five magazines loaded with 30 rounds and four loaded pistols.
Sunbhanah and Hujrah are Siraj's sisters and Jany is his wife. She worked for his father, Imam Siraj Wahhaj, at the Masjid At-Taqwa mosque in Brooklyn before relocating with her husband to Georgia in 2014. She is not AG's mother.
All three women were charged with child abuse on Sunday after initially being released by police who said they were 'brainwashed and intimidated' by the men.
Not found was Wahhaj's three-year-old son AG who cannot walk or talk due to hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy, a condition caused by brain damage.
When police closed in on the property on Friday, his father initially refused to follow orders.
Police worried that the raid would end violently because of the fact he was so heavily armed.
'We had learned the occupants were most likely heavily armed and considered extremist of the Muslim belief.
'We also knew from the layout of the compound they would have an advantage if we didn’t deploy tactfully and quickly,' Sheriff Hogrefe of the Taos County Sheriff Department said in a statement.
The children had been at the site for months without food and were so skinny their ribs were showing.
The only food found on the compound was a box of rice and some potatoes.
Sheriff Hogrefe described the conditions as the saddest he had ever seen in 30 years of police work.
'We all gave the kids our water and what snacks we had – it was the saddest living conditions and poverty I have seen,' he said, adding that the children looked like 'third world refugees.'
'I've been a cop for 30 years. I've never seen anything like this. Unbelievable. 'They were skinny, their ribs showed, they were in very poor hygiene and very scared.
'They had 'no shoes, personal hygiene and basically dirty rags for clothing,' he told ABC.
Siraj Wahhaj has been on the run since December when he vanished with AG after telling his mother he was taking him to the park.
AG's mother Hakima Ramzi has made desperate social media appeals to find her son again. Her friends have also set up a GoFundMe page to help pay for the search.
The toddler suffers from seizures, developmental delay, wears braces on his legs, cannot walk, and requires daily medication.
His parents were married for 15 years until he vanished in December. In a Facebook plea for information about her son and husband's whereabouts, Ramzi appealed directly to Subhannah, one of the three mothers found on the compound.
She said: 'It's not about you. This is all about my son. He needs his medication. My worry is not about Subhannah and her kids. My worry is about my son because he is sick.
'He needs his medication, he needs everything. I don't know if he is alive. Please, please, please, I need your help. 'I need my son back to me and then I will leave you alone,' she said.
Wahhaj is the son of Imam Surraj Wahhaj, 68, who belongs to the Masjid At Taqwa mosque in Brooklyn, New York.
The earliest record of him in the United States dates back to 1983. It is not clear where he lived beforehand or if he was born in the US.
In January, his father pleaded for information about their whereabouts. 'Dear Brothers and Sisters, please make duas for the safe return of our children and grandchildren: Siraj, Hujrah, Subhanah Wahhaj, son in law Luqman (Lucas) Morton, and daughter in law Maryam (Jany) Leveille and their children (our 12 grandchildren). 'We believe they may be traveling together,' he said in a Facebook post.
He has not commented on his children's arrest. Imam Wahhaj is the leader of The Muslim Alliance in North America.
Update from Thompson Reuters:
Police have found the remains of a three-year-old boy believed to be AG but not positively IDd yet.
A foster parent of one of the 11 children told authorities that Wahhaj "had trained the child in the use of an assault rifle in preparation for future school shootings," prosecutors alleged in an expedited motion for pretrial detention.
The court filing also states he "transported children across state lines for the purpose of children receiving advanced weapons training to commit future acts of violence."
Similar allegations were levelled in a motion prosecutors filed seeking expedited pretrial detention of Morton.
A Bronx high school teacher charged with performing oral sex on a 14-year-old student will get a jail-free sentence after pleading guilty to criminal sex act.
Prosecutors wanted her to lose her license and spend two years behind bars, but the judge offered her 10 years’ probation and she’ll be allowed to keep her certification.
Myers was busted in January on charges she abused the student at W. 168th St. and Broadway in Washington Heights on Nov. 1.
“There’s no place for this deeply troubling behavior in our schools and Ms. Myers has been suspended without pay since June,” said Department of Education spokesman Doug Cohen. “She will be terminated as soon as legally possible.”
Myers, of Rockland County, was modified from classroom duty upon her arrest. Before her suspension, she was earning $66,931.
Her sentencing is in September.
HARRISBURG, Pa. --- Two lawsuits filed Tuesday take aim at allegations of child sex abuse within two Catholic Diocese in Pennsylvania.
One of the lawsuits, which is against the Diocese of Harrisburg, centers around Father John Allen, a priest who served within the diocese for decades in multiple parishes, including churches in Dauphin and Lancaster counties.
The suit say allegations of child sex abuse by Allen were reported to Bishop William Keeler by a seminarian in the 1980s but Allen remained at the Harrisburg Diocese.
Allegedly, Allen was moved to a "retirement home" in Downingtown, Pennsylvania in 1992 after suffering a "nervous breakdown." The lawsuit, however, says the retirement home was a facility used to treat priests accused of sex abuse.
It also states Allen was assigned to St. Margaret Mary Alacoque in Harrisburg after he left the "retirement home" in 1995. There, an alter boy, who is now the alleged survivor bringing the lawsuit going by John Doe, said Allen groped and sexually molested him a dozen times in different locations within the church.
The lawsuit says a victim of Allen's abuse reported Allen to police in 2002, in which Allen promptly resigned. It states he was defrocked from the church in 2006.
According to the lawsuit, Allen could not be charged with a crime due to an expiration of statute of limitations. Ben Andreozzi, the attorney for the survivor, said the survivor who says he wants to face Allen in court, since Allen is believed to be alive.
"We want answers from the perpetrator as to why he did this but we're also importantly trying to discover who empowered him? Who knew what?" said Andreozzi.
When asking the Diocese of Harrisburg for comment, we received the following statement from a spokesperson: "We are still reviewing a copy of the lawsuit, so it would not be appropriate for us to comment on it at this time. With that being said, John Allen was included on our list of "Clergy and Seminarians Accused of Sexual Assault of a Child released last week. The Diocese of Harrisburg would again pass on our most sincere apologies to the survivors of child sexual abuse, the Catholic faithful, and the general public for any abuses that occurred."
The second lawsuit is against the Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown and the Franciscan Friars of the Third Order Regular in Cambria County.
An alleged survivor was looking to sue Brother Stephen Baker, but Baker committed suicide in 2013.
Andreozzi says the basis of this lawsuit comes from details revealed in the grand jury report on child sex abuse within the Roman Catholic Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown. He said the purpose of the lawsuit is to get specific answers for the survivor, such as who knew about Baker's abuse?
After the list of accused clergy was made public, FOX43 asked Bishop Ronald Gainer about sending clergymen accused of abuse to "treatment." He said it's a step the church takes to remove those accused from the public while also trying to understand "what is going on inside the man's head."
The problem of pedophilia is not in his head, it is in his heart, soul and spirit. No wonder their treatment never seemed to work. It's sin, not confused thinking.
"We're dealing with people who are not well, mentally and emotionally, so when we find someone who has an allegation made against them and sometimes they'll admit it very quickly. Other times, they try to deny it but the evidence is incontrovertible," said Bishop Gainer.
The lawsuit states John Doe has suffered from psychological and psychiatric problems as a result of the abuse, including depression, anxiety and addiction.
"It's hard to go through a daily life and to have these things come up and haunt you on a pretty regularly, daily basis and to have to face people and go out in public and have to face your family and your friends and your spouse and your kids. There's a whole mess of...Things that this causes. These scars run very, very deep," said the source, who chose to remain anonymous.
Andreozzi issued the following statement in regards to an investigation FOX43 aired Monday and Tuesday about allegations against Shank: "Last week, another of our brave clients confronted his abuser, Herbert Shank, a former Harrisburg Diocese priest, by sending a team of investigative journalists to Shank’s door. In a videotaped confrontation, It was obvious Shank did not comprehend the damage that he inflicted on his victims. Because that client is over the age of 30, by law he did not have the opportunity to seek justice though the judicial system. We hope Pennsylvania’s legislature takes note that people like Herbert Shank are living in our communities and many will go undetected unless we change these arcane laws."
Andreozzi says the legal proceedings in these civil cases could start in the next two months.
As for a potential jury trial, He said he thinks the earliest possible start would be in a year but, more realistically, they're anticipated to start in another year and a half, two years.
Heimlich signed a contract with the Lamigo Monkeys of the Chinese Professional Baseball League last week after failing to latch on with a Major League Baseball team.
It would be “truly regrettable if a potential first-round pick player has no place to showcase his talent,” Lamigo general manager Justin Liu said after the signing, according to Focus Taiwan News Channel.
However, the league stepped in an ordered the Monkeys to terminate Heimlich’s contract, according to the Oregonian. The Chinese Professional Baseball League reportedly has a zero-tolerance policy on teams signing players with a criminal past.
Heimlich was the 2018 national college pitcher of the year after going 16-3 with the OSU Beavers. He helped the team win the College Baseball World Series as well.
He went undrafted by MLB in 2017 and 2018 and failed to sign on with any team after the draft.
The Kansas City Royals raised eyebrows in June when general manager Dayton Moore said the organization was looking into signing Heimlich, but opted not to do so after all.
The Pullyap, Wash., native initially was charged with two counts of molestation. He ultimately pleaded guilty to one count of molestation between February 2011 and December 2011, a period during which he was 15. Prosecutors dismissed the other charge.
Heimlich repeatedly maintained that he pleaded guilty to spare his family the ordeal of a trial and has since denied any wrongdoing.
SPERRY, Oklahoma - Tulsa County prosecutors have charged a Sperry man with four counts of child sex abuse.
Investigators in several jurisdictions have been working the case against John Orcutt since a rape accusation against him last month.
They say Orcutt’s three suspected victims were all children he knows. A Sperry police officer says other alleged victims have come forward, but they were too young to remember much.
Investigators say a search warrant was executed at Orcutt’s home, which turned up drugs and pornographic material.
Orcutt has been booked into the Tulsa County Jail.
TULSA, Oklahoma -
Prosecutors say Anthony Henson (3rd story on link) would show a young girl pornography and then perform sex acts with her.
They say Henson would then beat the girl and a young boy that he knew.
Criminal trial proceedings in a child sex case can move forward now after the accused, 20-year-old Christopher VanDam, spent several weeks undergoing treatment for an undisclosed mental disorder.
not competent to go through trial (8th story on link) and would be unable to assist in his defense.
He was arrested in February and charged in juvenile court with three counts of sodomy on a child, one count of forcible sexual abuse and one count of sexual abuse of a child. He is also charged in 1st District’s adult court with forcible sexual abuse, a second degree felony.
During a police interview earlier this year, detectives were questioning VanDam about allegations that he made unwanted advances on a 17-year-old girl. During that conversation, he allegedly confessed to sexually assaulting several children over a period of several years, dating back into his childhood.
Defense attorney Shannon Demler said the next step is to meet with the attorney representing VanDam in juvenile court in an effort to reach a satisfactory resolution in each of the cases.
He will return to the courtroom on August 28 to report on the status of those negotiations.
RAYMORE, Mo. -- A metro youth minister facing child sex abuse charges violated bond conditions by being around children, court documents say.
Raymore Police found out about the violation because someone posted photos on Facebook showing Caruthers around children at the Second Missionary Baptist Church in Grandview.
Court records say, as a term of his bond, Caruthers cannot have contact with his alleged victims or any child under 17 expect for his own child.
Raymore Police handed photos over the the Cass County Prosecutor's Office. On Tuesday, that office filed a motion to revoke Caruthers' bond and immediately take him into custody.
The Facebook pictures show Caruthers, speaking before a crowd at the Second Missionary Baptist Church. Just yards away stands a group of children.
FOX4 tracked down Caruthers at his job. He wouldn't answer or acknowledge us and drove away.
Court records say during two different sleepovers at his Raymore home, he touched a boy's genitals. The documents go on to say he gave the boy gifts, sent him texts saying he loved him and would contact the boy's mom to check on him if he didn't answer. Court records also allege that he inappropriately touched two girls.
Second Missionary Baptist Church said it had no knowledge of the charges or the allegations until FOX4 showed the church's bishop.
"To my official knowledge, the church was not aware of any charges against Mr. Caruthers," said John Lewis Jr., bishop at Second Missionary Baptist Church.
How can that possibly be? The police or the prosecutor didn't bother telling the church he was a minister at that he was accused of child sexual abuse? There needs to be a reckoning here; something is very wrong with this picture.
FOX4 asked him to explain Caruther's proximity to the children in the photos taken at the church in July. Caruthers bond conditions were set in May.
"Sitting over to the right, the young ladies in the picture, in those empty chairs is where his seat is," Lewis said. "He was sitting right by the stage."
Lewis said Caruthers hasn't had any contact with children at the church since the charges were filed and said he's a minister at the church, but not a youth minister anymore.
I thought he didn't know about the charges!!! Good grief!
In the motion to revoke bond, detectives talked to the man who posted the pictures. According to the statement, that person told detectives, "The defendant is currently active as the youth pastor for the church" and "the defendant has been having regular contact with children as part of those duties."
Lewis said he'll still be allowed to worship.
"I'm not going to condemn him or not offer him the grace of God that he provides to everybody without going through due process," Lewis said.
Pastor Lewis, you need to protect your flock! There is a wolf in sheep's clothing and you are enabling him rather than protecting your sheep. It's time you stepped down and did something you are good at.
But prosecutors say Caruthers is a risk to the community and they want him behind bars because of "continued disregard for the conditions of his bond."
The motion is currently in front of a judge for review. The case is scheduled to go to a jury trial in early December with a hearing in October.
Ashley Stilson Daily Herald
Nearly a dozen family members related to the children attended the sentencing on Tuesday, including two of the children’s mothers. “It made me realize what hate was, and it absolutely broke me as a mom,” said one of the mothers in court. “I beg you not to let him hurt somebody else’s little girl.”
Nixon was initially charged with 50 first-degree felony charges in 4th District Court in May, including rape of a child, sodomy on a child and aggravated sexual abuse of a child.
In June, Nixon pleaded guilty to three counts of aggravated child sexual abuse and three counts of child sodomy, all first-degree felonies. The other 44 charges were dismissed as part of the plea deal.
Judge Derek Pullan sentenced Nixon to serve 25 years to life in prison for each count of aggravated child sexual abuse and 15 years to life in prison for each count of child sodomy. The sentences for the six counts will run consecutively, meaning Nixon will serve an estimated 70 years in prison.
The total amount of time in prison is calculated by the court using a matrix based on prior convictions and severity of the crimes, said Craig Johnson, Deputy Utah County attorney. “This is essentially a death sentence for him,” Johnson said.
The two mothers were in tears and hugged one another after hearing the sentence. Other family members shook hands with the prosecuting attorneys as they left the courtroom. “He doesn’t deserve a chance to start fresh,” another mother testified during the sentencing. “Our girls are never going to have a chance to start fresh.”
Deputies with the Utah County Sheriff’s Office Special Victims Unit began investigating the child sexual abuse case in February, ultimately leading to Nixon’s arrest in May.
One of the mothers said her daughter was the first child to report the sexual abuse. “She was determined, and she was brave. She’s the bravest little girl I’ve ever known,” the mother said, wiping away tears. “This is a little girl who has a heart as big as the sun.”
Family members were “elated” and felt “immense satisfaction” about the sentence, Johnson said on behalf of the family. “They can move on with their lives,” he added.
In interviews with police, Nixon said he started sexually assaulting one of the girls when she was 4 years old. Nixon told police the girl gave him “a flirty look” as a child and he continued to assault her in his apartment for nearly four years.
He also confessed to abusing two other 7-year-old girls for months and felt aroused when the young girls wore dresses or did cartwheels, police reported. Nixon also told police he would volunteer to host sleepovers for the young girls but he would not tell the parents he was a registered sex offender, according to court documents.
“You have stolen the innocence of three children,” the judge said to Nixon. “You have stolen their childhood.” Nixon had a “warped and deviant perception,” Pullan continued, and the need to protect children outweighed Nixon’s request to eventually receive parole.
Nixon is a registered sex offender after he was convicted in 2005 for unlawful sexual activity with a minor in Utah. He was also convicted of additional felony sex offenses in Indiana in 2007.
Twice convicted and still ha manages to destroy 3 little girls. The system obviously failed those girls and needs help.
PINEVILLE, Mo. — A 12-year-old girl recalled in court Wednesday how after she got up to go to the bathroom and returned to bed the night of March 21, 2017, she sensed someone else in bed with her.
"Who was it?" Prosecutor Jake Skouby asked her at the sexual abuse trial of Keith A. Shifflett, 44, of Seneca.
"It was 'Captain,'" she replied, meaning the defendant. Shifflett liked to go by the name "Captain Keith" or "Captain Keystone," she told the court.
She said "Captain" pulled down her shorts and underwear after climbing into bed with her. She was 11 years old at the time.
"Did you say anything to him?" Skouby asked.
"Huh-uh," she said. "I just laid there crying."
She then haltingly described how Shifflett proceeded to sodomize her, an allegation the defendant denied when he later took the witness stand and tried to offer an explanation for DNA evidence the state presented to back up the girl's testimony.
At the end of the two-day trial moved to Pineville on a change of venue from Newton County, jurors deliberated only about an hour before convicting the defendant of statutory sodomy with a child under 12, an offense that carries a punishment range of 10 years to life in prison. Circuit Judge Tim Perigo set Shifflett's sentencing hearing for Sept. 24.
The girl told the court that the incident in Seneca where she was living with her mother and a younger sister was not the first time Shifflett had sexual contact with her. He had done so earlier while they were living in a trailer park.
Jackson Scanlon, a DNA case analyst with the Missouri State Highway Patrol crime lab in Springfield, testified that the lab tested a stain on the girl's underwear and found a mix of the girl's and Shifflett's DNA.
Shifflett took the witness stand in an attempt to explain how his semen got on the girl's underwear if he did not sodomize her as she testified. He claimed to have had accidental sexual contact with her the first time at the trailer park.
He began seeing the mother and her daughters again in February 2017 after running into them at the grocery store and spent a few nights at their apartment. The night in question he had smoked some meth at another residence and was drinking.
Shifflett said he was in a bedroom and it was as if "somebody turned the light on in the room" and he suddenly realized what he was doing and stopped.
"I felt the eyes of the Lord looking at me, and that's what kept me from attempting to have sex with (the girl)," Shifflett said.
The San Diego Unified School District was negligent in failing to prevent a former teacher’s months-long sexual abuse of a student, a jury decided Wednesday.
The jury awarded $2.1 million in damages to the victim, a former student who is now 19, at the end of a trial that lasted two and a half weeks.
She had sex with the student in her classroom dozens of times during first period with the door locked while the student was supposed to be in class, court documents showed, and the boy’s attendance suffered. She also had sex with him at her home and in her car.
In court documents and testimony, sources described how Sutton groomed the student, referred to as James Doe, for a sexual relationship by buying food for him, spending lots of time with him outside of class and driving him to school. The first sexual abuse occurred when the boy was 15 and the teacher was 37, according to court records.
But there was another problem besides Sutton’s abuse, attorneys for the student argued. They said school officials long ignored red flags about Sutton’s behavior, and it took too long for them to take action.
Several teachers had known months before Sutton’s arrest that Doe was missing class to be with Sutton in her classroom, according to documents and testimony. They had emailed Sutton, asking where Doe was, and she replied multiple times that he was with her. School employees knew Doe’s attendance was poor.
School administrators had also previously warned Sutton that she shouldn’t be sharing explicit personal details with students, according to documents and testimony. They had ordered her on multiple occasions to stop spending so much personal time in the classroom with students, Doe’s attorneys argued.
Yet school officials did not follow up with Sutton to ensure she stopped her behavior, attorneys said.
“Nobody ever follows up on anything here,” said Michael Kirby, one of Doe’s attorneys, during the trial. “There was no exercise of reasonable care in this case.”
She was also never officially disciplined or written up for her questionable behavior in her personnel files, he said. “I couldn’t believe there was no site file,” said one juror, who asked to remain anonymous, interviewed after the verdict. “She could’ve been written up for anything.”
Key to Doe’s case was a 97-page report and testimony by Charol Shakeshaft of Virginia Commonwealth University, an expert on educational leadership and student sexual abuse who evaluates school sexual misconduct policies. Shakeshaft wrote the report for Doe’s attorneys.
Shakeshaft found that, at the time of Doe’s abuse, San Diego Unified’s policies “did not meet the standard of care” in preventing adult sexual abuse of students.
The policies and training that Crawford High School employees had access to did not detail how to identify and report behaviors that could be signs of adult-to-student sexual abuse, Shakeshaft, determined after studying the district’s policies, training and the hundreds of other documents related to Doe’s case.
Shakeshaft also said she found no evidence that students or parents had been trained on adult-student misconduct or sexual harassment. “Although employees at Crawford High School received training, two important aspects – red flags and bystander responsibility – were missing,” Shakeshaft wrote in her report.
She noted that San Diego Unified has expanded its policies related to educator sexual misconduct since the Sutton case. That included a faculty handbook last school year prohibiting faculty from crossing professional boundaries in relationships with students and offering guidance on student attendance and mandated reporter requirements.
On Wednesday, the jury attributed to the school district 40 percent of the harm the student suffered, and 60 percent to Sutton. Sutton no longer works for the district and was stripped of her California teaching license.
Kirby said the verdict means vindication and “relief that it’s going to be over” for Doe, who was not in the courtroom when the verdict was read. Attorneys for the school district, on the other hand, argued during the trial that school employees had done what they reasonably could to address Doe’s attendance problems and Sutton’s conduct.
“We do not believe that the school district employees were careless or negligent, that they cared deeply for the students,” defense attorney Michael Sullivan said Wednesday after the verdict was read. Defense attorneys also argued that Crawford employees responded appropriately once they realized that Sutton had been abusing Doe.
Sullivan said the “vast, vast majority” of the blame for the abuse belonged to Sutton, rather than school district employees. “They performed like reasonable people in difficult circumstances,” Sullivan said during the trial’s closing arguments. “Bad things can happen even when everyone takes action. We can’t presume that because this happened, somebody other than Ms. Sutton was responsible.”
In the months following Sutton’s arrest, Doe suffered from depression, embarrassment and guilt, said San Diego psychiatrist and physician Calvin Colarusso, who diagnosed Doe with post-traumatic stress disorder. The $2.1 million was awarded to pay for those emotional damages and for counseling.
“This is unfortunately an all-too typical case of child sex abuse,” Colarusso said while testifying during the trial. “This boy was vulnerable because of his living circumstances. She expertly groomed him and took advantage of him to deal with whatever issues she was dealing with.”
This isn’t the first time San Diego Unified has been ordered to pay for failing to stop a teacher’s sexual abuse of a student. In 2009, a former student at the School of Creative and Performing Arts was awarded $1.25 million.
In that case, the teacher was a male and the student was a female, and the age difference was similar to the Sutton case. The district in that case was also assigned 40 percent of the blame, and was ordered to pay $650,000 because of how responsibility was allocated.
Spokeswoman Maureen Magee said the district’s share of the Sutton award would be about $840,000. She said the district is reviewing whether to appeal.