San Diego Unified Lawsuit Moves Forward

A former employee who alleged a "cover up" of student-on-student sexual misconduct at SD Unified will soon be heading to settlement talks with the district.

A September 24 date has been set for settlement negotiations in the suit brought by former school district investigator Michael Gurrieri. He was hired by SDUSD in March 2014 as a probationary internal investigator.

Gurrieri claims he uncovered a problem of student-on-student sexual assaults within the district as he was looking into an allegation at Green Elementary School in San Carlos.

In May 2013, parents of a kindergartener said their son was sexually assaulted by another kindergarten student in the boy's bathroom at Green Elementary. The parents were awarded $105,000 to settle a lawsuit in the case, and the district did not admit guilt.

When Gurrieri filed his report, he claims he was told to remove allegations of incidents of abuse in the school that the principal was aware of and didn't do anything about, according to his attorney.

Gurrieri was terminated from his job because he objected to the district's “cover- up,” his attorney claims.

The lawsuit originally named Superintendent Cindy Marten, Executive Director of the Quality Assurance Office Carmina Duran and the district's General Counsel Andra Donovan as defendants because the district cannot be sued in federal court under the claims of First Amendment violations.

A judge is considering a motion to remove Marten and Donovan that claims Gurrieri failed to prove he had a conversation with either Marten or Donovan regarding his report.

However, Gurrieri's attorneys say the judge has yet to make a final decision on whether Marten and Donovan will be defendants.

Duran did instruct Gurrieri to focus his report on one student's allegations, court documents show.

The district ended Gurrieri's employment in October 2014, court documents show. The district has said it will not comment on pending litigation.

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