Lawsuit names suspected childhood sexual molester Craig Chandler and implicates the Evergreen Elementary School District, O.B. Whaley Principal Lyn Vijayendran and Vice-Principal Lea Peery for their role in failing to protect children from sex abuse.
Attorney Robert Allard
Online PR News – 02-November-2012 – San Jose, CA – The child molestation victims' rights law firm of Corsiglia, McMahon & Allard has filed a civil lawsuit (Santa Clara County Superior Court, Case #112CV235253) on behalf a 10 year old child molestation victim against the Evergreen Elementary School District, O.B. Whaley Principal Lyn Vijayendran, Vice Principal Lea Peery, and alleged molester Craig Chandler.
The child molestation lawsuit claims the Evergreen Elementary School District placed Chandler in a position to abuse the child even though it knew that Chandler had been accused of sexual harassment by two separate teachers as reported to two separate O.B. Whaley principals, including Lyn Vijayendran. The lawsuit claims Vijayendran did not report Chandler's conduct.
“Seemingly, both the school and the district turned a blind eye to obvious acts of insidious childhood sexual abuse.”
The complaint alleges that Chandler repeatedly sexually abused the victim, known as Jane Doe, between August of 2010 and May of 2011 while she was in third grade. The lawsuit claims that Chandler blindfolded the young girl in conjunction with a lesson plan that he called the "Helen Keller Unit". Chandler allegedly lured and blindfolded the girl by promising her candies but instead sexually abused the child by placing his penis in her mouth and licking her feet. The lawsuit claims that on at least one occasion, the Vijayendran walked into Chandler's classroom while he was alone with a student while conducting his “Heller Keller” lesson plan and she responded by simply telling him to keep the door open.
The lawsuit states that the Evergreen Elementary School District failed in its obligation to properly train its employees as to their role as mandated reporters of sexual abuse. To this end, Vijayendran, as well as the District’s Human Resource Director, recently testified in court that they received absolutely no training on their mandatory duty obligations and sex abuse issues in general. Further, the District allegedly violated state law by prohibiting its employees, when addressing child abuse allegations, from recording interviews with witnesses in order to eliminate evidence that could be used against it in a lawsuit. The complaint claims that the District instructed mandated reporters such as Vijayendran and Peery to conduct their own investigation as to childhood sexual abuse complaints rather than fulfilling their legal obligations by reporting them to authorities. As a result, the complaint states that Vijayendran and Peery both failed to report Chandler's suspected abuse to authorities when the parent of another child reported in October of 2011 that, while her daughter was blindfolded, a “gooey” item had been placed in her mouth during which Chandler placed his hands on her head and moved it back and forth. The victim further reported at this time that a “salty water” substance was ejected into her mouth which dripped onto her jacket. Vijayendran has been charged by the District Attorney for failing to report Chandler's suspected abuse.
According to attorney Robert Allard, “this was a much deeper problem that involved much more than one person making a horrible mistake. This was a systemic failure. Both before and after my client was repeatedly subjected to sexual abuse, several members of the school and district knew about Chandler’s sick and twisted sexual predilections and yet, shockingly, he continued to sexually molested children under the auspices that he was teaching them about “Helen Keller." Seemingly, both the school and the district turned a blind eye to obvious acts of insidious childhood sexual abuse. Combined with the fact that there was, according to the school’s principal and the district’s human resource director, a complete and utter absence of any training or education on sex abuse issues, I have grave doubts, if this is any indication, about whether our children are safe from sex abuse in public schools.”
The lawsuit was filed after the Evergreen Elementary School District denied the victims claim for damages earlier this week.
About Corsiglia, McMahon & Allard
The San Jose, California childhood sexual abuse law firm of Corsiglia, McMahon & Allard is included in the US News & Best Lawyers - "Best Law Firms" 2011-12 law firm rankings. All three of its name partners, Bradley Corsiglia, Timothy McMahon and Robert Allard, have been named as Top 100 Trial Lawyers by the National Trial Lawyers Association and also designated as "Super Lawyers". Allard was honored as 2012 California Lawyer of the Year for Public Justice as a result of helping children and their families recover from the evils of sexual abuse.