Was it a sex assault or an innocent game among second-graders? Incident results in two lawsuits

Loyola Elementary School as seen from Google Earth
Loyola Elementary School as seen from Google Earth.

BY ALLISON LEVITSKY
Daily Post Staff Writer

The Los Altos School District has been hit with lawsuits from parents who say their 6-year-old daughter was sexually assaulted by two of her second-grade classmates — and a suit from the accused boys’ parents, who say the incident was an inappropriate, but innocent game.

The incidents took place during lunchtime on Jan. 26, 2016, and Jan. 28, 2016, behind a shed at Loyola Elementary School.

In a suit filed on March 8, 2017, the girl’s parents said the two boys took their daughter behind the shed, pulled her pants down and her shirt up, touched her private parts with their hands and a stick and poured dirt and mud down her pants.

According to the girl’s parents, the two boys brought a third boy to watch and participate on Jan. 28, 2016. The third boy heard the girl say “no” to the boys. He then told another child and a playground aide what was happening behind the shed, the girl’s parents allege.

In response to the girl’s lawsuit, attorneys for the school district denied any wrongdoing, including the girl’s claim that school employees hadn’t provided adequate supervision.

Mooning claimed

But a separate suit that one of the boys’ parents filed against the district on April 14, 2017, claims that the three were merely pulling their pants down to “moon” and “pants” each other.

The boy’s parents accused the district of defaming and emotionally traumatizing their 8-year-old son by treating him like a criminal, adding that their son is emotionally immature for his age and has autism and ADHD, which hinder his ability to read social cues and respect others’ personal space.

Principal Kimberly Attell told police that the boy had previously been overly physical with other students, according to a transcript of the principal’s deposition on Feb. 28.

After the incident, Attell sent a mass email to school parents about what had happened and notified the police, who investigated the boys.

One boy was suspended on Jan. 29, 2016. After a meeting between his parents and Superintendent Jeff Baier on Feb. 10, 2016, Baier transferred him to another school in the district, according to a written declaration from Baier filed in court on Sept. 5, 2017.

The boy’s parents allege that a police investigation didn’t result in charges, but Baier wrote that the police hadn’t released that information to him one way or another.

Girl felt trapped

Attell said in a written declaration that she also investigated the incident.

When she interviewed the boy, he said that only the other boy had trapped the girl, lifted her shirt and pulled down her pants, but other students contradicted this and said that both boys were involved.

The girl said that both boys had trapped her, pulled up her shirt and pulled down her pants despite her protestations. They then touched her private areas and poured dirt or water down the front of her pants, she said.

The boy’s parents’ suit was dismissed in January in favor of mediation outside of court, while the girl’s lawsuit is scheduled to go to jury trial in October.

Baier, Attell and the girl’s parents’ attorney, Patty Lewis of the San Diego firm Lewis Law, all declined to say anything about the case.

The boy’s parents didn’t return a request for comment.

1 Comment

  1. So the school district suspends the boy, saying it’s his fault, but denies any of the school’s employees were to blame for not supervising the school yard? What do we pay teachers and playground aides for anyway?

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