Lawsuit states that it took two complaints by Willow Glen Middle School parents for the school to finally act against teacher Clifford Pappadakis.
The San Jose Unified School District is facing a sexual abuse lawsuit filed on behalf of two former Willow Glen Middle School girls, victims of photographs taken by former Physical Education teacher and coach Clifford Pappadakis. The photos, taken unknowingly, showed the girls in compromising and/or sexual positions, with some zoomed in on the minors’ private areas.
Photographs found on Pappadakis’ District-issued laptop included many captioned images of minors in sexually suggestive poses. Pappadakis was criminally charged and convicted in 2018 for possessing child porn and taking sexually provocative photos of his students.
“This was a preventable assault on the girls,” stated attorney Mark Boskovich. The complaint alleges that the principal failed to meaningfully address a parental complaint about Pappadakis taking an unusual number of photographs of minor females in April of 2017, and ignored rumors on campus that Pappadakis was taking inappropriate pictures of girls. The principal failed to seize Pappadakis’ District-issued laptop until nearly six months later upon a second parental complaint about Pappadakis taking suspicious photographs of minor girls in their bikinis during a swim practice. Upon searching Pappadakis’ laptop, the principal quickly found inappropriate pictures of school-aged girls and reported Pappadakis to the authorities.
According to the lawsuit, Pappadakis treated both girls favorably. Pappadakis approached Jane Doe 2 when she was a seventh-grade student, and told her that he could get her into college and to the Junior Olympics if she ran with him. Pappadakis also recruited Jane Doe 1 to his track team by giving her compliments about her athleticism.
“This is classic sexual predator behavior,” stated former San Jose Police Sergeant and sex crimes investigator Michael Leininger. “He singled them out, and he paid special attention to them. The ‘red flag’ behavior is always present if school district employees are trained on what to look for,” added Leininger.
According to the lawsuit, due to his excessive, inappropriate photographing, rumors circulated on campus concerning Pappadakis’ “creepy” behavior with one Willow Glen Elementary School student nicknaming him “Coach P.P.,” which allegedly stood for “Coach Pedophile Pappadakis.”
The complaint explains that under the California Penal Code, the taking and disseminating of photographs depicting a minor in sexually suggestive poses constitute childhood sexual abuse, even if the perpetrator did not touch the minor.
Pappadakis was sentenced to eight months of home detention and given three years probation. He is due to be released later this week. He will also have to register as a sex offender.
In sentencing Pappadakis to jail last year, the Judge reportedly acknowledged the victims’ suffering, stating, “What they suffered will be part of their lives forever.”
The complaint states that after Jane Doe 1 learned of the betrayal, she suffered from issues of trust, paranoia, and anxiety. She missed more than two months of school and quit the sport that she loved. Jane Doe 2 suffered from anxiety, depression, and nightmares. She has also experienced panic attacks after seeing items reminding her of Pappadakis and has been in counseling for suicidal thoughts.
“As the Audrie Pott case has taught us, said attorney Robert Allard, is that for young girls, the threat of or the dissemination of suggestive sexual photographs can be destructive to a girl’s mindset or sometimes even deadly.”
If your child has been sexually abused by a teacher, coach or any adult, please contact our law firm for help. We have represented numerous child sex abuse victims. Call our office at 408-289-1417.