A pair of civil lawsuits filed last week in Orange County Superior Court underscore two sad realities that recurrently feature in child sexual abuse cases.
The filings immediately emphasize the dire repercussions that can ensue for adolescents who understandably place their trust in adult authority figures who abuse it for criminal purposes.
And then there is this: In both the filings, third parties were spotlighted for negligence that allegedly helped enable the defendants’ unlawful behaviors.
The called-out wrongdoers are two ex-coaches of the girls’ swimming and water polo teams at Kennedy High School in La Palma. One of them recently pleaded guilty to multiple criminal counts involving unlawful sexual contact with teenagers. The other is currently facing more than 20 criminal charges, including sexual battery and lewd acts committed against a child.
A spokesperson for the four former student athletes who collectively filed the civil litigation referred to an oft-cited factor in child sex abuse cases involving coaches and other authority figures who serve as mentors. Namely, that individual stressed “the grooming process that leads to these girls’ loss of innocence.”
The complaints assign liability in a broad-based way, stressing the culpability of parties in addition to the two coaches. Both of them target the Anaheim Union High School District with negligent supervision of the coaches, a material lapse that the filings contend directly contributed to the inflicted abuse. And one of them additionally cites USA Water Polo and officials of a club team for contributory negligence.
Both lawsuits seek a jury trial.