A 33-year-old man is suing the Covina-Valley Unified School District, alleging he was sexually abused as a minor by his female English teacher at Northview High School nearly 20 years ago.
The plaintiff’s Los Angeles Superior Court lawsuit also names as a defendant his alleged former abuser, Kimberly Northrop. The plaintiff, who now lives in Tucson, Arizona, alleges sexual battery and harassment, negligence and negligent supervision and retention. He seeks unspecified damages against the district and Northrop as well as punitive damages against the former teacher.
A district representative did not reply to a request for comment on the suit filed April 29.
The district hired Northrop to begin working at Northview High in Covina as an English teacher in 2002 and the plaintiff was a member of her English class as a sophomore in the 2004-05 school year, the suit states.
In late January or early February 2005, Northrop began sexually grooming the plaintiff by seeking to earn his emotional and psychological trust, knowing that he was experiencing difficulties at home with his family, according to the suit.
Northrop asked the plaintiff to stay after class and eat lunch inside her classroom in order to discuss his personal life and ask him “deeply personal questions,” the suit states.
By eating lunch alone with the plaintiff in her classroom, Northrop departed from the practice of most of the rest of the English Department staff, which ate lunch together, the suit states.
“Northrop purported to express compassion for plaintiff’s difficult home life, and after earning plaintiff’s trust, began inappropriately touching (him),” the suit states.
Northrop frequently caressed the plaintiff, rubbed his back otherwise manipulated him by saying her affections showed her sympathy for his difficult home situation, the suit states.
The interactions between the plaintiff and Northrop escalated over time and culminated with intimate encounters behind her locked classroom door, the suit states.
Northrop also allegedly abused other students in a sexual manner, including one minor who she allegedly encouraged to go to her home to do housework, but ended up being sexually abused as well, according to the suit.
Northrop resigned at the end of the 2006-07 school year “because of multiple rumors that she was sleeping with her students,” the suit states.
Even after the plaintiff graduated and turned 18 years old, Northrop continued to use her influence and trust obtained during her alleged past grooming and sexual abuse of him in order to manipulate the plaintiff into engaging in a “further emotionally damaging personal and sexual relationship for several more years,” the suit states.
The district was responsible for the supervision of its employees’ activities, including Northrop’s, and assumed responsibility for the well-being of the plaintiff and other minors in its care, the suit states.
The district knew or should have known that Northrop had violated her role as a teacher and used her position to gain access to children, making the district liable both directly and as a result of the failure of its administrators to reasonably supervise their employees, according to the suit.