An 18-year-old woman sued the Downey Unified School District and a teacher, alleging the instructor sexually abused her while she was a student at Downey High School.The plaintiff is identified only as S.F. in her Los Angeles Superior Court lawsuit, filed Thursday.
The suit alleges sexual abuse of a minor, intentional infliction of emotional distress, negligence and a failure by district officials to report they had a reasonable suspicion the teacher — Brandon Hitchcock — committed sexual misconduct.
According to the plaintiff, the alleged abuse began during the 2013-14 school year when Hitchcock was her history teacher and she was 16 years old. The alleged abuse continued until he was arrested in October 2014, the suit states.
The plaintiff seeks unspecified damages.
Hitchcock, who also coached girls’ soccer and lacrosse, was criminally charged in October 2014 with 10 counts of unlawful sexual intercourse and five counts of oral copulation of a person under 18, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office stated in a news release.
Ashley Greaney, the DUSD’s public relations coordinator, could not be immediately reached for comment on the lawsuit or on Hitchcock’s employment status with the district.
According to the defendant, sexual episodes occurred both at Hitchcock’s Lakewood apartment and in his classroom during his free periods.
Rumors circulated on campus in September 2014 that Hitchcock and the girl were in a relationship, the suit states. Another student told her mother what she had heard about the plaintiff and Hitchcock, and the mother reported to the administration what her daughter told her, the complaint states.
But the DUSD did not begin to question Hitchcock until October 2014, the suit states.
“Around this time, Hitchcock also texted plaintiff, telling her to lie if anyone asked about their relationship,” the suit states.
However, the girl told her parents about the relationship with Hitchcock and the teacher-coach was arrested after the plaintiff’s father reported the allegations to Downey police, the suit states.
— City News Service
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