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A young woman who was a student at Los Altos High School in Hacienda Heights when she was molested by her chemistry teacher testified Wednesday that she was bullied by fellow pupils when the abuses became known, forcing her to eventually transfer to another school.

“They called me a whore, a slut, that I was easy,” said the plaintiff, who was 15 when she was molested in 2014 and is now 18 and lives in Valinda. “People in class were always whispering.”

A lawsuit was filed on behalf of the plaintiff in Los Angeles Superior Court in Feb. 9, identifying her only as Jane Doe. The suit names as defendants the Hacienda La Puente Unified School District, then-Los Altos Principal Cheli McReynolds and David Park, the teacher who abused Doe.

Park, 40, of Chino Hills, pleaded guilty in October 2015 to oral copulation of a person under 16 and lewd act upon a child. He was sentenced in December 2015 to three years in prison for molesting the plaintiff and one other female student. He also was ordered to register as a sex offender for life, to stay away from the victims for 10 years and pay restitution.

Park has since been released from prison and is being called as a defense witness on Thursday.

The lawsuit alleges the Los Altos High School staff ignored many red flags that should have alerted them that the student was being abused.

However, attorney Randall Winet, who represents the school district and McReynolds, said Park deserves the major share of blame for what happened to Doe and said she is progressing in overcoming her emotional turmoil, including post-traumatic stress disorder.

The plaintiff told jurors Park was her biology teacher during her freshman year and her chemistry teacher in her sophomore year. She said the two of them began texting during the summer of 2014.

The woman did not testify in detail about the sexual abuses, but her attorney, Stephen Estey, said during opening statements that the texting gradually became sexual in nature. He said that when his client was in Park’s chemistry class, he inappropriately touched her behind a closed classroom door.

The molestations progressed to the point that Park arranged to meet the girl at a discount store near the school, drove her to his condominium and sexually abused her there in October and November 2014, Estey said.

The plaintiff said she obtained a transfer to another chemistry teacher’s class in January 2015 to get away from Park, but that he continued to torment her by staring at her.

She said her new teacher observed the tension between Park and the plaintiff and persuaded her to talk to Reynolds, to whom she eventually confided about the illicit relationship.

Doe said she was interviewed by a human resources employee who seemed disinterested during the conversation.

“She didn’t care,” Doe said.

Doe said she lied and said she had sex prior to being abused by Park when she was actually a virgin at the time.

“I didn’t want to give Park the power to take that away from me,” she said.

Doe said it eventually became too painful for her to remain at Los Altos High School because of the memories and so she transferred to Workman High School in Industry in her junior year. She graduated in June and now attends a community college, she said.

Doe said she also has changed her appearance, cutting her hair shorter, wearing little makeup and donning clothes that cover as much skin as possible. She testified in court wearing jeans, a long-sleeve sweater and tennis shoes. Half of the top of her brown hair was dyed blue.

She said that for a time she took multiple showers daily.

“I felt really dirty,” she said.

She said she has had a boyfriend since being abused and has visited a dating site on the internet, but that she has trouble developing trust in people. She said she sleeps with her bed half way into a closet.

“It feels like someone is there hugging you,” she said.

Doe said she has ongoing therapy and takes Prozac for her depression.

–City News Service

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