One Year Ago Today (November 30, 2020)…A judge pared and consolidated two separate lawsuits brought against Los Angeles Unified on behalf of a total of five girls who allege they were molested by a former teacher’s assistant at a North Hollywood elementary school.
The first lawsuit pertained to three plaintiffs and was filed March 3. The second, involving two girls, was brought June 22. The plaintiffs are identified only as Jane Does in the Los Angeles Superior Court documents that name as defendants the LAUSD and their alleged assailant, Lino Cabrera.
Judge Barbara Scheper consolidated the complaints after hearing no opposition. She also dismissed Unruh Civil Rights Act allegations brought by both sets of plaintiffs, citing a recent appellate court ruling that school districts are not business establishments.
The two plaintiffs in the case filed in June also allege sexual battery and negligence. The judge said that although she saw no evidence the district ratified any sexual battery, she was giving lawyers for those girls a chance to convince her through an amended complaint.
Attorney Joanna Robles, who represents those two girls — who were ages 10 and 11 at the time of their alleged abuses — said she will be adding another plaintiff to her part of the case and dismissing Cabrera as a defendant.
The part of the case involving the three girls in the suit filed in March — all of whom are now 12 years old — will move forward with only a negligence cause of action. Their lawyer, Michael Carrillo, said Cabrera will be served and remain a defendant in his clients’ part of the suit.
Most of the alleged abuses took place in 2019. Cabrera worked in a computer lab at Oxnard Street Elementary School.
” While Cabrera sexually abused, sexually molested and sexually harassed … (the) LAUSD … had knowledge or reason to know that Cabrera took an unusual interest and spent an inordinate amount of time with each plaintiff,” the court papers of the original three plaintiffs allege.
Those plaintiffs further allege that the LAUSD “failed to report and did hide and conceal from students, parents, teachers, law enforcement authorities, civil authorities and/or others the true facts and relevant information necessary to bring Cabrera to justice.”
Cabrera had a practice of isolating minors at the school was also known to many teachers and administrators at Oxnard Elementary who, despite knowing his conduct violated the school and district’s policies for the protection of minors, took either ineffective or no action to prevent his alleged sexual abuses of the girls, according to the court papers filed in June on behalf of the two girls in the case.
The judge did not set a trial date, but scheduled a case management conference for Jan. 28.
Cabrera, 28, of San Fernando, was sentenced Feb. 10 in Van Nuys Superior Court to eight years in prison for sexually abusing six female students. He pleaded no contest in January to one felony count each of continuous sexual abuse and committing a lewd act on a child under 14, along with four misdemeanor counts of child molestation, in exchange for the negotiated sentence. He will also be required to register as a sex offender for life.
Allegations of inappropriate behavior by Cabrera arose May 16, 2019, and an investigation by the Los Angeles Police Department’s Sexually Exploited Child Unit determined there were at least six victims, ages 10 and 11, according to the LAPD.