District Found Liable for Not Reporting Student-Teacher Affair


A former student at the School of Creative and Performing Arts was awarded $1.25 million in a civil suit she brought against the San Diego Unified School District. The district was deemed partially liable for not reporting the two-year sexual relationship between the girl and a former teacher, according to SignOnSanDiego.com. The suit was also brought against the teacher.

The relationship between the plaintiff, whose name has not been released, and the then 40-year-old teacher, John Lee, began in 2003-04, shortly after the plaintiff, then 16, finished the 10th grade, according to court records. The relationship ended in 2006 when the student graduated from high school and began college.

According to the plaintiff’s attorney, the relationship between Lee and the plaintiff was a constant source of gossip on campus. The attorney also said students had complained to the administration about inappropriate acts between the two; however, the administration did not report it to authorities, which is required under state law.

School officials argued that the district should not be held liable because both Lee and the plaintiff worked to conceal their relationship. Additionally, district representatives said that at the School of Creative and Performing Arts, students often hug teachers and display their emotions.

In 2007, Lee was sentenced to 16 months for statutory rape and three other sex charges.

Jurors awarded the plaintiff $250,000 for past and future psychiatric counseling, and $1 million for emotional distress and other damages. According to the plaintiff’s attorney, the district is responsible for a portion of the damages – an estimated $700,000, including legal fees. The district is considering filing an appeal.

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