Lawsuit Alleges Assault Cover-Up at Local Elementary School

After the San Diego Unified School District paid $105,000 to settle a lawsuit alleging sexual assault in a boy's bathroom, a new suit has been filed relating to the case.

Former district investigator Michael Gurrieri is suing top SDUSD officials, claiming his First Amendment rights were violated when he tried to report an alleged “cover-up” of student-on-student assaults.

“Mr. Gurrieri alleges he was retaliated against for speaking out on important matters of public concern,” Gurrieri’s attorney Mark Radi told NBC 7 by phone from New York.

A former South Carolina sheriff's deputy, Gurrieri was hired by the district in March 2014 as a probationary internal investigator.

He was assigned to look 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 in the case, and the district did not admit guilt.

But as he investigated the issue, Gurrieri found the problem of student-on-student sexual assault was not limited to one case, according to his lawsuit.

“We allege he uncovered allegations of incidents of abuse in the school that the principal was aware of and didn't do anything about,” said Radi.

Radi said Gurrieri was asked to remove those allegations from his report.

“He objected to removing the allegations, but they ended up being removed anyway by his supervisors,” Radi said.

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

The lawsuit names Superintendent Cindy Marten, Executive Director of the Quality Assurance Office Carmina Duran and the district's General Counsel Andra Donovan as defendants.

They are named individually because the district cannot be sued in federal court under the claims of First Amendment violations, Radi said.

The school district said it cannot comment on pending litigation, but a spokesman emphasized that lawsuits are made up of allegations, not facts.

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