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Riverside Unified School District Hit with Lawsuit Over Sexual Assault Allegations

— January 21, 2021

A lawsuit involving Riverside Unified School District and sexual assault allegations is nearing an end, hopefully bringing closure to a kindergartener and her family.

A trial involving Riverside Unified School District is winding down, hopefully bringing an end to a lawsuit that alleged a kindergarten student “was sexually assaulted by another girl on a school playground after school officials ignored her mother’s complaints that her daughter previously had been assaulted by that same classmate.” Additionally, the lawsuit accused “Tomas Rivera Elementary officials of failing to obtain statements from witnesses and destroying evidence.”

Image of an elementary classroom
Classroom; image courtesy of
shannonmatthew via Pixabay,

The suit itself was filed back in 2018 by attorney Jeremy D. Jass of Long Beach and is seeking “unspecified damages and accuses the district of negligence, sexual battery and infliction of emotional stress.”

During the litigation process, the attorney representing the school district said “only the other child was responsible for the victim’s injuries, that school officials were unaware of the mother’s complaints and that school employees exercised reasonable diligence to protect the girl, identified in court records only as R.S., now 6 years old.”

What happened, though? What kind of injuries did the child sustain? According to her mother, the young girl was “bitten and scratched on separate days by the other girl — identified in court records as Jane Doe — early in 2017.” From there, the mother filed complaints with the school and was “assured by Tomas Rivera teachers and employees that Jane Doe and R.S. would not be left alone together.” Unfortunately, the two girls ended up alone together again “in a play tunnel where, out of sight of school staff, Jane Doe sexually assaulted R.S. and warned her not to scream or tell her parents or teachers,” according to the lawsuit.

The victim’s mother discovered injuries later that day while bathing her daughter. When she asked the child what happened, her daughter said “someone hurt her.” She also added that “she wasn’t allowed to tell anyone, including her parents. The mother said she only “learned her daughter’s secret when the girl agreed to tell her older sister while the mother eavesdropped.” Doctors later confirmed the injuries, “which included swelling, scratches and bruises,” according to the suit.

Riverside police swiftly launched an investigation into the incident, but due to California law, no one was arrested because “no one under 14 can be arrested.” Instead, “both families were referred to counseling resources.” Today, the victim is attending school out of state.

Earlier this month, attorneys representing the school filed a motion asking Judge Jackson Lucky to “turn off the streaming audio that is allowing the public to listen to court hearings during the coronavirus pandemic.” The motion was denied.


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