A lawsuit was brought against Los Angeles Unified on behalf of a 17-year-old girl who allegedly was sexually abused by her teacher years earlier when she was a fourth-grade student at a Canoga Park school.
The teacher had been sentenced to five years in state prison after pleading no contest to two felony counts of lewd acts upon a child. It wasn’t clear if those felony counts involved the girl in the lawsuit.
The plaintiff is identified only as Jane S.N. Doe in the Los Angeles Superior Court negligence suit filed Wednesday. The suit seeks unspecified damages. It was brought on her behalf by her mother because the plaintiff is a minor.
An LAUSD representative issued a statement regarding the suit.
“We have not been served with the suit and we do not comment on pending litigation,” the statement read. “However, the safety and well-being of our students remains our top priority.”
The suit alleges the girl was abused by Rene Tenas, a teacher at Hart Street Elementary School between August 2013 and June 2014.
“Tenas sexually harassed, abused and molested Jane S.N. Doe on multiple occasions by willfully and unlawfully committing lewd and lascivious acts upon … her,” the suit alleges.
Tenas groomed Doe by telling her he would help her with her homework, and he kept her and other female students in his classroom during recess, lunch and after school for his sexual gratification, the suit states.
Neither the LAUSD nor the school administration took any action to restrict Tenas’ interaction with minors, the suit alleges.
Subsequent to her alleged sexual abuse at the hands of Tenas, the plaintiff began making a connection between her present physical and emotional problems and her experiences as a student at Hart School, the suit states.
The suit further alleges that the LAUSD had “actual or constructive knowledge” that Tenas had previously engaged in “dangerous and inappropriate conduct with children, including sexually abusing other minors at Hart,” but “conspired to and did knowingly cover up and failed to take reasonable steps” to avoid future sexual misconduct by Tenas with students.
After pleading no contest in October 2018 to two felony counts of lewd acts upon a child, Tenas, then 39 and of Canyon Country, was sentenced the next month in Van Nuys Superior Court to five years in state prison.