A lawsuit was filed against the Torrance Unified School District today on behalf of a student who alleges she was sexually molested by a man who was able to sign her out of class last year by posing as her father, without any verification by school staff.
The plaintiff, identified in the Los Angeles Superior Court complaint only as J.S., is seeking unspecified damages on allegations of negligence, vicarious liability and interference with legal rights.
TUSD spokeswoman Tammy Khan released a statement on behalf of the district.
“We have just learned of this complaint and have not, as yet, been served,” the statement read. “Therefore, we cannot comment on this, especially in regards to ongoing litigation. The safety and well-being of our students is of utmost concern to us in the Torrance Unified School District.
Therefore we take the allegations in this complaint very seriously.”
The complaint does not state why the man singled out the plaintiff or whether he was ever apprehended. Her attorney, Brian Ward, did not immediately return a call for comment.
A man claiming to be the girl’s father called North High School on Feb. 13, 2015, and asked that she be released into his custody, the lawsuit says.
“This man did not even provide the correct name of plaintiff’s father when requesting the release,” according to the suit, which says an off-campus pass allowing the girl to leave campus was signed by a “Mrs. B. Fox.”
“At no time did anyone attempt to verify this man’s identity or name and no member of the staff made any efforts to determine who was picking plaintiff up or what their identity was,” the suit alleges. “Plaintiff was merely allowed to leave school premises without any further questioning.”
The girl was molested by the man after he left North High with her, according to the lawsuit, which says the crime “occurred during school hours when (the) Torrance Unified School District was responsible for the safety and well-being of plaintiff.”
The plaintiff maintains that the district should not have allowed any employee to release the girl to someone without verifying his identity and making sure he came to the office. The district also should have obtained a copy of the man’s driver’s license and his written signature, according to the lawsuit.
“TUSD had apparently no policies or procedures in place at the time of the incident to verify that children should not be released to unauthorized or dangerous persons during school hours,” the suit says.