A lawsuit filed against Los Angeles Unified on behalf of four young boys alleges they were victims of sexual abuse by an employee of an after-school program at Amestoy Elementary School in Gardena in 2018 and this year.
Three of the plaintiffs are currently 10 years old and the fourth is 11, according to the lawsuit, which alleges sexual harassment, intentional infliction of emotional distress, sexual assault/sexual battery and negligent hiring, supervision, training and retention. The suit seeks unspecified damages.
An LAUSD representative did not immediately reply to a request for comment on the Los Angeles Superior Court lawsuit filed Monday, which also names 39-year-old Daniel Ayon as a defendant.
Ayon was arrested June 12 and initially charged with six felony counts — one count of oral copulation or sexual penetration with a child 10 years old or younger, two counts of continuous sexual abuse and three counts of lewd act on a child under 14 — involving the four boys involved in the lawsuit.
He was subsequently charged July 1 with four additional counts of lewd act on a child under 14 involving two other boys from the school, ages 6 and 7, according to Ricardo Santiago of the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office.
Ayon — who could face a potential life prison sentence if convicted as charged — has pleaded not guilty and is being held in lieu of $10 million bail.
He worked in the Beyond the Bell extended-day program, according to the lawsuit.
“In his capacity as a district employee and the head of the BTB afterschool program, Ayon had unfettered access to students … and was similarly responsible for the supervision and care of Amestoy students,” the complaint says.
The alleged abuses of the boys consisted of inappropriate “over-the-clothes” and “skin-to-skin” touching of the plaintiffs’ private parts, according to the lawsuit, which also alleges that Ayon made “lewd and sexually charged remarks” to the boys.
The district had an obligation to supervise Ayon and should have known he had a history of “engaging in inappropriate conduct with minors” and “presented a danger” to students, the suit alleges. By allegedly failing to do so, the LAUSD, “its administrators, supervisors, and its agents ratified Ayon’s sexually inappropriate conduct…,” according to the suit.
Gardena police have asked anyone with information about Ayon or additional possible victims to call Detective Karen Salas at 310-217-6180 or Detective Dee Searle at 310-217-9654.
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