Girl sexually abused by teacher 'partly to blame', school claims

The maths teacher had sex with the girl, who was 13-years-old at the time, on and off-campus

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The Independent US

A 13-year-old girl who was sexually abused by her teacher was partly to blame as she did not tell anyone about their activities, a Los Angeles school has claimed.

Los Angeles Unified School District made the argument last week in an appeal case brought by the girl, now 14, who had sex with her then 28-year-old maths teacher over seven months in 2010-11 both on and off campus, according to the Los Angeles Times.

The newspaper said the teacher first contacted the student on social media, then started texting her, before having sex with her in hotels and his classroom.

The teacher was convicted of lewd acts with a minor and sentenced to three years in prison after a friend of the victim reportedly told another teacher at the school about it.

The victim is now appealing an unsuccessful case she had previously brought against the district, in which her lawyers argued the district had been negligent for not properly supervising the teacher and that it was liable for causing the girl emotional damage.

A jury had rejected the argument.

As part of the appeal, the girl’s lawyers have argued that the judge should not have allowed evidence to have been heard of the girl’s sexual history in the previous case, or allowed the district to argue that she was partially to blame for her abuse.

The district had argued that the girl had been complicit because she had lied to her parents and teachers to hide the consensual relationship and, by doing so, she had hampered the district’s ability to find out about it, the Los Angeles Times reports.

The district said it had been appropriate to include evidence of her sexual history to consider the emotional distress which had been caused to her by the sexual relationship with her teacher.

But the girl’s lawyer, Holly Boyer, said the district’s claim that the girl bore some of the blame did not properly take into account the grooming involved in sexual abuse.

According to the newspaper, she said: “People in positions of authority use their positions to build relationships of trust and slowly introduce sex to get the child to acquiesce. 

“To then point to the child and say ‘you let it happen’ is really crazy.”

A decision on whether the appeal will be upheld is expected to be handed down in December.

In January, a QC caused controversy among child abuse workers in the UK when she said a 16-year-old student who had sex with a 44-year-old married religious studies teacher had groomed him. 

Stuart Kerner, a then vice principal at Bexleyheath Academy, was given an 18-month suspended sentence after being convicted of sexual activity with a child by a person in a position of trust.

Sentencing him, Judge Joanna Greenberg QC said she was allowing the teacher to walk free after finding that his victim had been “stalking” him. 

She said: “Her friends described her, accurately in my view, as stalking you.

“If grooming is the right word to use, it was she who groomed you [and] you gave in to temptation.”

Her remarks were branded “astonishing” by those in child protection, saying the judge had sought to transfer blame onto the victim when teachers had a legal and professional responsibility to reject any sexual advances from their pupils.