‘Students were sexually abused because Tamalpais High School officials ignored red flags’ – attorney Mark Boskovich
School district knew Normandie Burgos was a sexual predator but allowed him to continue teaching and coaching.
Normandie Burgos is a disgraced tennis coach who was convicted of 60 counts of sexual abuse in 2019 and is now serving 255 years in prison.
Essentially, it’s a life sentence for the 56-year-old predator who faces three civil lawsuits recently filed by Corsiglia McMahon & Allard.
Two lawsuits are focused on the Burgos Tennis Foundation that was granted membership by the United States Tennis Association and its NorCal USTA affiliate. Burgos founded the private clinic after being fired from his job as a Tamalpais High School physical education teacher and tennis coach.
The third lawsuit is directed at the Tamalpais Union High School District in Marin County.
“The really troubling thing about the lawsuits is that Burgos’ abuse of boys continued long after Tamalpais school district officials reprimanded him for inappropriately touching a student tennis player,” attorney Mark Boskovich said.
The civil suit against Burgos and the Tamalpais Union High School District was filed in early March 2020. The plaintiff, “A.H.,” was a freshman when he joined the Tamalpais High School tennis team in spring 2001.
Burgos, who was the tennis team coach, immediately began “grooming” the young player, complimenting A.H. on his body, spending time alone with him on campus, giving him gifts and even asking about his libido.
When A.H. was a sophomore, Burgos stuck his hand down his boxer shorts and touched his penis. That happened in spring 2002.
In November 2002, the Mill Valley Police Department began investigating Burgos after receiving a complaint that he had touched another student’s genitals while measuring the student’s thigh.
Burgos admitted he took an “inappropriate” thigh measurement. The December 2002 letter of reprimand said, “The act of reaching down the student’s pants to assist with the body fat measurement demonstrated poor judgement and a lack of concern for the student’s welfare. The effect of your action was to cause the student emotional distress and has resulted in a hostile learning environment for the student.”
The letter continued, “I am directing you not to engage in similar activities under any circumstances. You are never to take body fat measurements of students in the thigh area.”
Shockingly, the letter was not even put into Burgos’ personnel file, and he was allowed to continue teaching, coaching and sexually abusing students.
“This lawsuit is about holding the school district accountable for failing to take action in response to a credible complaint of sexual abuse,” Mr. Boskovich said. “My client would have avoided months of abuse if they’d taken that first complaint seriously.”
Just a few months after his December 2002 reprimand, Burgos began giving A.H. “massages” that included stroking his penis. The lawsuit alleges that he continued to administer body fat tests to male students, instructing some of them to remove their clothes in order to touch intimate parts of their bodies, including their genitals.
In early 2005, two male students complained about Burgos’ inappropriate body fat tests; the district responded by issuing him a Notice of Unprofessional Conduct and Improvement Plan.
This begs the question: why didn’t the district fire him then?
When Burgos was arrested in August 2006 and charged with one count of sexual battery, the school district finally placed him on a leave absence.
They fired him in 2008 and he was tried on the sexual battery charge in 2010. The criminal trial ended with a hung jury, jurors voting 8-4 for conviction.
Burgos’ California Teaching Credential was revoked in 2011.
Although Burgos left the North San Francisco Bay Area in disgrace, he didn’t go far: he opened the private tennis clinic, the Burgos Tennis Foundation, in the East Bay.
And he continued to abuse young male tennis players.
The foundation became a member of the United States Tennis Association and its USTA NorCal affiliate around 2011.
Corsiglia McMahon & Allard has filed two civil lawsuits against USTA and USTA NorCal.
“We’re representing one victim whose mother complained to USTA NorCal in 2014 that Burgos was abusing her son. The other victim was abused by Burgos in 2015,” Mr. Boskovich said. “If either the USTA or USTA NorCal had investigated Burgos before approving his membership, they would have uncovered the fact that he had a prior history of sexual misconduct with children.”
That’s exactly what former Tamalpais schools superintendent Laurie Kimbrel, who pushed to revoke Burgos’ credential, told the New York Times recently. To quote: “What confounds Laurie Kimbrel … is that no one in the tennis establishment contacted the district to vet Burgos after the well-publicized 2010 trial.”
And Kimbrel said, “You can literally Google someone’s name and teaching certificate and find out it was a permanent revocation. There’s no bigger red flag than that.”