Alleged victim of accused Sierramont Middle School teacher Ronald Gardner claims abuse started when he was in the 8th grade.
The law firm of Corsiglia, McMahon & Allard filed a lawsuit today in Santa Clara County Superior Court alleging that the Berryessa Union School District in San Jose was negligent in failing to protect an eighth-grade student from sexual abuse.
The student was identified as John Doe in the lawsuit.
The lawsuit states that John Doe was allegedly sexual abused by Sierramont Middle School teacher Ronald Gardner starting as an eighth grader in his 1997-1998 school year.
Gardner is currently facing criminal sexual abuse charges as a result of his 2021 arrest.
The lawsuit claims that Gardner exhibited numerous grooming behaviors preceding the abuse, including spending time with male students before and after school, driving students in his car to and from school, making inappropriate comments to and/or in front of students, and hugging students.
On at least one occasion, according to the lawsuit, a DISTRICT janitor nearly caught Gardner engaging in a sexual act with plaintiff. As the janitor was about to enter Gardner’s classroom after instructional hours, Gardner scrambled to pull up his pants. The janitor then entered the classroom and observed plaintiff alone with Gardner. The janitor took no action to report his observations.
After nearly being caught, Gardner began placing a couch in front of the door and a note on the door warning that the door should not be opened because one of his lizards or birds was loose and could get out. District employees failed to question these actions by Gardner.
As a result, Gardner sexually assaulted the plaintiff, including masturbation, oral copulation and sexual intercourse states the lawsuit.
Even though John Doe was sexually abused starting in the 1997-1998 school year, an expiring change in the law gives victims like Doe an opportunity to sue the institution that enabled their predator’s abuse. AB 218, expiring on December 31, 2022, allows all sexual abuse victims a three-year window to bring a lawsuit, no matter when they were abused.
The sexual abuse legal team at Corsiglia, McMahon & Allard has used the law to gain justice for numerous victims, including:
Allison Brown, a victim of former Valley Christian High School coach Greg Marshall,
Obtaining a $10 million jury verdict for the 2003 sexual abuse of a then-high school tennis player abused by his coach,
A $7.5 million settlement for five men sexually abused by their Union School District teacher in the late 1970's and early 1980's.
"Our legal team is committed to ensuring that sexual abuse victims are fully compensated for the lifelong harm they suffer, and to ensure that schools and institutions do a better job protecting kids from sexual abuse," attorney Lauren Cerri said.
The law firm is urging anyone with information on this case to come forward and contact them.
About Corsiglia, McMahon & Allard
The sexual abuse legal team at Corsiglia, McMahon & Allard has a national reputation and a proven record of helping survivors and their families recover from childhood sexual abuse. The firm’s $65 million jury verdict in a sexual abuse case against a public school is believed to be the largest single plaintiff verdict ever in California and the United States.