San Diego

2 Districts Sued by Victim of Ex-ROTC Instructor

Martin Albert Gallegos was sentenced to one year in jail and three years of probation Friday after admitting to having sexual intercourse with a 17-year-old female student.

Two San Diego County school districts are being sued for negligence after a former Navy Junior ROTC instructor had a sexual relationship with a student.

The suit alleges one district recommended the instructor for a position with another school district but failed to mention inappropriate behavior with female students.

Martin Albert Gallegos pleaded guilty to statutory rape and was sentenced to one year in jail and three years of probation for having sexual intercourse with the student. She was 17 at the time of his arrest in April 2016.

The teenager said Gallegos made her feel special by lavishing her with praise, giving her rides home, bringing her lunch and texting her in the evening.

In the lawsuit, the teenager described how she showed text messages from Gallegos to a volunteer ROTC instructor. The suit states that instructor told two ROTC Master Chiefs within the Mar Vista High School program however, the volunteer instructor was told to leave the issue alone.

Once the teenager reported the relationship to the San Diego County Sheriff's Department, Gallegos was arrested and charged.

The lawsuit also alleges that Gallegos' employment with Coronado High School ended because of alleged inappropriate behavior with female students. However, Coronado Unified School District did not relay this information when it offered a letter of recommendation concerning Gallegos to Sweetwater Union High School District, according to the complaint.

The teenager, who NBC 7 is not identifying because she is the victim of statutory rape, filed claims with both school districts in August 2016.

Coronado Unified School District rejected the claim in September. The superintendent was unavailable for comment on the civil lawsuit Thursday.

Sweetwater Union High School District rejected the claim in January. District spokesperson Manny Rubio said, "Because this is an ongoing legal matter it would not be appropriate for us to comment."

At the time of Gallegos' arrest, Sweetwater Union High School District officials said they were surprised at the allegations because Gallegos had passed all background checks before he was hired.  

But a school district employee told NBC 7 that Mar Vista High School did not run background checks on volunteers. The school district could not or would not provide documentation to show otherwise.

In the lawsuit filed March 1, the teenager is seeking damages for negligent supervision/failure to warn, negligent hiring and sexual harassment among other claims.

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