The Anaheim Union High School District is being sued for alleged failing to report sexual abuse of students by district staff, the OC Register is reporting. The staff in question are mandated reporters, and are legally bound to report instances of sexual abuse.
According to the OC Register:
The Anaheim Unified High School District allegedly concealed complaints of sexual abuse and harassment by a former water polo coach who eventually was convicted of the misconduct, according to an amended lawsuit filed Monday by a current and a former student at John F. Kennedy High School.
In addition to the district, the complaint filed in Orange County Superior Court names former assistant water polo coach Joshua Christopher Owens, former Kennedy High School Principal Russell Earnest, former coach Eric Pierce, Athletic Director David Jankowski, co-Athletic Director Dean Wang and teacher Ian Sabala.
Owens, 25, of La Palma pleaded guilty in August 2018 to one felony count each of oral copulation of a victim younger than 16 and sexual penetration of a victim younger than 16, as well as six misdemeanor counts of child annoyance. He was sentenced to six months in jail.
Owens was a part-time assistant water polo and swim coach at Kennedy High School in La Palma and a seasonal lifeguard with the Long Beach Fire Department Marine Safety Division, according to Buena Park police and the Orange County District Attorney’s Office.
Owens met the two girls, who were 14 to 16 years old, through his coaching job and sexually abused them from 2014 to 2016 at locations in Los Angeles and Orange counties, Stewart said.
The lawsuit contends two years prior to Owens arrest, a parent reported Owens’ suspected abuse of his daughter to Pierce. Then, a year later, a former student notified Sabala that Owens was alleged to be abusing pupils, according to the complaint.
Sabala, in turn, advised Jankowski, Wang, and Earnest of the alleged abuse, but none of the defendants performed their mandatory duty to report Owens to law enforcement, the suit says.
“In today’s environment, to have five administrators and staff of Anaheim Unified High School District ignore their obligations as reporters under law is abhorrent,” Stewart said. “To have Anaheim Unified High School District then continue to employ Jankowski, Wang and Sabala, despite these failures to report, only reinforces that Anaheim Unified High School District tolerates the abuse of its students and rewards those who fail to report.”
You can read the entire article here.
One of the defendants, Ian Sabala, is an officer with the district’s teachers union, the Anaheim Secondary Teachers Association.
He serves on the ASTA Board of Directors with Juan Alvarez, an AUHSD teacher who was recently elected to the Anaheim Elementary School District Board of Directors with the support of the Moreno/Matsuda political operation.
Three weeks ago, Sabala was calling for more accountability for charter schools: