Second grader claims 2nd sex attack at 2nd Fresno school

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A Fresno family and the attorney for a little girl are outraged after the girl claimed she was sexually touched for a second time at a second school. (KFSN)

A Fresno family and the attorney for a little girl are outraged after the girl claimed she was sexually touched for a second time at a second school.

"It's time for Fresno Unified to start taking care of its special-needs students," said attorney Kara Hitchcock. "It's time."

The 7-year-old girl's story first came to light in an exclusive KFSN-TV story in May when her caretaker filed a lawsuit against the school district.

After a sexual attack on a school playground last year, the girl was moved from one school to another. But a few months later, she reported a second incident. And her attorney said she believes the school district could've prevented it, but may have retaliated for legal maneuvers related to the first incident.

In a secret hiding place behind the backstop on the playground of King Elementary School, a special-needs first grader says three boys made sexual contact with her in April of 2013. The alleged attack led to a lawsuit against Fresno Unified and a move to Jefferson Elementary for the girl.

As a second grader, she had a one-on-one aide watching over her, keeping her safe from harm. But a month after the district dealt with her attorney's original complaint, the safeguard disappeared.

"I hope it was just a coincidence," Hitchcock said. "Because if it wasn't a coincidence, pretty unthinkable -- shocking, actually."

Hitchcock says her client's family was never told about the change. And with the aide gone, the girl says it happened again -- this time in a public setting, standing in line to return to her classroom.

"I just have to ask myself: 'How many more times are they going to let this little girl down?'" Hitchcock said.

The Fresno Unified school board will vote next week on a second claim on the girl's behalf, but the superintendent's office is recommending it be denied. Hitchcock says, at that point, she'll add the second incident to the lawsuit she already filed.

KFSN legal analyst Tony Capozzi says the school district may be looking at substantial damages.

"If these facts actually occurred, I think it's a better case for the minor than it was before because she's accosted once before," he said. "The school's on notice."

So it seems Hitchcock and the school district are on the road to a showdown. They're scheduled for a trial in January of 2016.

The district chose not to comment when KFSN asked about the situation Thursday.


Related Topics:
educationsexual assaultfresno unified school districtschoolstudentsu.s. & worldCalifornia
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