Photo: Wikimedia Commons
Photo: Wikimedia Commons

A high school swimmer who alleges she was sexually assaulted by an older male pupil who later shared a video of the crime to others at the campus is suing the boy and the Covina-Valley Unified School District.

The mother of the 16-year-old plaintiff brought the lawsuit on behalf of her daughter — identified only as A.G. — on Friday in Los Angeles Superior Court. The allegations include negligence, sexual battery, false imprisonment, both intentional and negligent infliction of emotional distress, defamation and civil rights violations. Also named as defendants are South Hills High School Vice Principal Manuel Burciaga and the alleged perpetrator of the sexual assault.

The suit seeks both compensatory and punitive damages. CVUSD Superintendent Richard Sheehan could not be immediately reached.

It’s not clear if any criminal charges were ever brought.

In March 2016, the plaintiff was a freshman and member of the swim team at the high school, which is located in West Covina, the suit states. The swimmers practiced at the South Hills Country Club pool about a mile off campus and students were required to walk because no transportation was provided by the CVUSD, the suit states.

The male student, a junior, had repeatedly made contact with the her online through private messaging and on social media, the suit states. He said he wanted to have sex with the girl and requested that she send him nude photos of herself, the suit states.

The girl rejected the requests, but said she was willing to socialize with him and attend a basketball game, the suit states.

On March 7, 2016, the male student met the plaintiff in the school parking lot and offered her a ride to swim practice, the suit states. The girl, a “naive freshman … smitten by the attention from a junior,” accepted the offer, according to the suit.

But instead of taking her to practice, the boy allegedly drove the girl to a remote area and sexually assaulted her. Afterward, he told her to put her clothes back on so he could take her to practice, the suit states.

“Plaintiff was stunned and sat silently crying during the car ride,” the suit states.

When she arrived at practice late, her coach “never asked her where she had been,” the suit states.

Meanwhile, the male student later “bragged about his rape of plaintiff on the Internet through public posts on his Twitter account that were publicly available, including to many followers that were students at South Hills High School,” according to the lawsuit.

The male pupil also used images he secretly took of portions of the sexual encounter and “began to send these videos to other students through private messaging software and showed these videos to other students while they were at school,” the suit alleges.

Some of the students who saw the video teased and harassed the girl and showed her the video, the suit states.

“Plaintiff was shocked to learn that she had been filmed and was embarrassed, shamed and humiliated by the distribution of video of her being raped and by being harassed and bullied by other students…” the suit states.

The images implied the plaintiff was promiscuous “when in fact she had been forcibly raped and videotaped without her knowledge,” according to the lawsuit.

Burciaga later apologized to the girl for what happened and said he wanted to expel the male student, but ultimately no action was taken against him and he was allowed to remain a student at South Hills High, the suit states.

The girl’s parents removed her from South Hills High out of concern for her safety and transferred her the next year to a private school, according to the complaint.

–City News Service

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