California School District Claims Special Needs Sexual Assault Victims Were ‘At Fault’!
Redlands High School math teacher Kevin Patrick Kirland was arrested in 2016 for having sex with several special needs students and the District is now publicly blaming the victims!
Kirland pleaded guilty a year later and was sentenced to two years in June 2017, but released the same day for time served. All of Kirkland’s victims were special needs students and children.
But then, the unthinkable happened:
The district said in a court document that the special needs victims were “negligent” and partly to blame for what happened to them.
“At the time of the incidents . . . the plaintiffs were negligent or at fault and failed to use that degree of care and caution which a reasonably prudent person would have used under the same or similar circumstances,” school district attorney Stephen Harber wrote in his answer to an amended lawsuit in the case.
The RedlandsDaily explains:
That lawsuit consolidated three lawsuits totaling six plaintiffs into one, said attorney Morgan Stewart, who is representing Kirkland’s victims in the litigation.
All of Kirkland’s victims were special needs students, Stewart said.
The school district maintained any damages it may face should be reduced due to the victims’ own culpability in their abuse.
Harber also said in his Dec. 28 filing that the plaintiffs “could have mitigated the amount of damages, if any there were, but plaintiffs failed and refused, and continue to fail and refuse to exercise a reasonable effort to mitigate damages . . . .”
Stewart called the school district’s assertions “one more example of a long pattern of victim blaming and attempts to shame those who speak out about Redlands Unified School District.”
“To call vulnerable young girls ‘at fault’ and ‘negligent’ when they are the victims of abuse is amongst the most base and despicable behavior by individuals who are entrusted with the safety of those in society that need the protection the most,” Stewart said in a press release.
To avoid family problems at home, Kirkland had the girl work at his family business, Hawthorne Mortuary, where he “had better access to abuse her sexually over the course of many years.” And there was a quid pro quo involved in that arrangement: Kirkland “made it clear” to the girl that, by assisting her, she would have to submit to his sexual whims, according to the lawsuit and Irvine attorney Morgan A. Stewart, who represents the former student.
Stewart also represents four other former Redlands High School students in a separate lawsuit filed Sept. 18. He says school and district officials were aware of multiple allegations of Kirkland being sexually involved with students dating back more than 10 years. The attorney alleges a culture of collusion and cover ups at the district at the expense of student safety.
“Redlands Unified School District’s pattern and practice is to learn of abuse, inappropriate behavior and then to make a conscious choice to protect the accused over the accuser,” Stewart alleged in the lawsuit filed Tuesday. “As described herein, this is the pattern that has held true with Kirkland over a ten year period.”
This is as abhorent as anything I have written on concerning our public schools, and I have written on a LOT!
So you know the drill. Be kind about it, but you must convey your disgust to the school, district, and those in charge.
Here is the contact information. There needs to be a HUGE public apology as well as someone, I don’t know who, but someone needs to be fired!
Redlands High School: Phone 909.307.5500 (They seem to have shut down Facebook..of course) Twitter
Ms. Kate Bartells, Principal Email: [email protected] Phone 909.307.5500 x30102
What makes this story worse, is the reason for the lawsuit in the first place.
Assistant Principal Gayle Dockham, who is in charge of mandatory reporter training, testified in a sworn deposition on Sept. 20, 2017, that a parent complaint was made in May 2015 of a “special relationship” Kirkland had with two students, and that he was taking them off campus. The parent asked that Kirkland not be associated with students outside of class and that he not be left alone with students without another adult present.
According to the lawsuit, Dockham never investigated the “special relationship” Kirkland was alleged to be having with the students, as mandatory reporting laws mandate, never spoke to the students in question or their parents, and did not implement the complaining parent’s recommendation that Kirkland not be allowed to be alone with students outside of class time and without another adult present.
Additionally, Dockham, being a mandated reporter, never reported the allegations to police of child protective services.
Insanity folks, pure insanity!