Courtroom - Photo courtesy of David Veksler on Unsplash

One Year Ago Today (August 17, 2021)…The Torrance Unified School District has agreed to pay $725,000 to settle a suit brought by a girl who was sexually assaulted on an elementary school playground in 2019 by a registered sex offender who walked onto campus unchecked.

The Los Angeles Superior Court lawsuit was filed in September 2019 on the behalf of a girl identified only as Jane HC Doe. The suit was filed by a guardian identified only as Kim S.

The suit alleged sexual abuse, sexual assault, sexual battery, intentional infliction of emotional distress and negligence. The girl was 6 years old at the time and is now 8 years old.

Dalan Anthony Johnson, 33, of Los Angeles, pleaded no contest in November 2019 to one count of forcible lewd act on a child under the age of 14 and was sentenced to 15 years to life in prison for sexually assaulting the plaintiff.

According to the lawsuit, Johnson entered Lincoln Elementary School on 166th Street unhindered on March 28, 2019, abused the girl on the kindergarten playground, then played basketball with a young boy on campus before walking away.

A teacher saw Johnson before he made contact with the girl, who will suffer a lifetime of painful memories of being molested at school, the suit stated.

In their court papers, attorneys stated that the district took reasonable precautions to ensure the safety of the students at Lincoln School, including forcing Johnson to make a hasty exit after he was seen.

The TUSD had no knowledge of Johnson’s criminal background and he was on the playground for about 52 seconds, the suit states.

Johnson has prior convictions from 2015 for lewd act upon a child under 14 and 2016 for indecent exposure with a prior lewd act conviction, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office.

Johnson was on parole and wearing an ankle bracelet at the time of the attack, according to Deputy District Attorney Parag Agrawal.

The girl reported the alleged attack to one of her parents at the end of the school day and her parent informed the school district, which contacted police, according to Torrance Police Department Sgt. Ronald Harris.

The school district worked with police and the school’s resource officer and reviewed surveillance video, which determined the suspect was on campus for less than a minute, Harris said.

The settlement of the lawsuit prompted lawyers for the plaintiff to file a request for dismissal of the case with Torrance Superior Court Judge Deirdre Hill.

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