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Shawn Thomas Accused of Sexually Assaulting Student At Leigh High School In San Jose

South Bay Teacher Shawn Thomas Arrested For The Alleged Rape of Female Student At Leigh High School Between 2002 and 2003

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SAN JOSE, CALIFORNIA (March 26, 2024) – A Leigh High School teacher identified as Shawn Thomas, 56, of Los Gatos, has been arrested in connection with the rape of a student over 20 years ago.

San Jose Police Department officials said that they received a report on March 8 about an alleged sexual assault that took place sometime between 2002 and 2003. The victim of the assault was identified as a female student who attended Leigh High School in San Jose.

The officers said that the tip was from someone who was not the victim. Shawn Thomas was arrested on March 22 and taken to the Santa Clara County Main Jail.

He has been charged with the rape and sexual assault of a minor. Prior to being arrested, the defendant was also a track and field coach at Los Gatos High School.

Officials from the school district said that they are actively cooperating with the ongoing investigation. A full investigation into the alleged actions of Shawn Thomas remains ongoing at this time.

Liability For Santa Clara County Child Sexual Abuse

Sexual abuse involving teachers in California is sadly far too common. Recent statistics would suggest that the problem is only getting worse. According to the Los Angeles Daily News, “Experts say a number of “disheartening” sexual abuse allegations involving teachers is rising nationwide and nowhere is the problem more prevalent than California, where statistics show abuse allegations have doubled in less than a decade.” Schools should take a number of measures to prevent student sexual abuse.

  • All teachers and school employees should undergo thorough background checks.
  • School employees should be trained to recognize the signs of sexual abuse.
  • Schools should prevent individual students from being isolated with adults.
  • Schools should report all suspected instances of misconduct.

Schools have a legal obligation to properly supervise students from reasonably foreseeable sources of harm. This includes taking steps to protect students from sexual assault. Consider, for example, Taylor v. Oakland Scavenger Co., 17 Cal. 2d 594 [110 P.2d 1044], “It is the duty of the school authorities to supervise at all times the conduct of the children on the school grounds and to enforce those rules and regulations necessary to their protection.” A number of measures should be taken after any suspected instance of student sexual abuse.

  • School records related to the assault should be sought.
  • A police report should be created.
  • The disciplinary record of the teacher involved should be reviewed.
  • Medical records related to the assault should be preserved.
  • An experienced teacher sexual abuse attorney should be contacted.

Sexual abuse is one of the most harmful and destructive things that children can go through. Survivors are often left with long-term psychological trauma and are more susceptible to a wide variety of negative health outcomes. Sadly, though, schools will often do everything in their power to deny responsibility if a student in their care is sexually abused by a teacher. This is why it is so important to seek legal counsel early on after any instance of sexual abuse.

Investigating Santa Clara County Teacher Sexual Abuse

We at the Carrillo Law Firm, LLP extend our best wishes to all of the people who may have been impacted by the actions of Shawn Thomas. There needs to be a thorough investigation into what took place. Any person who may have more information about what happened should reach out to investigators.

Have you or someone that you care about been sexually abused by a teacher at Leigh High School? You may have legal recourse. Our team of sexual abuse attorneys is here to answer any questions that you may have. We care deeply that abuse victims are aware of their rights and that school districts are held accountable for their negligence. Whether you just have legal questions or need any type of support, we are here for you. You can reach out to us anytime at 626-799-9375.

Author

MICHAEL S. CARRILLO, Partner

Michael works on high-profile cases that have garnered national media attention. His practice today focuses on child sexual abuse cases, police misconduct cases, catastrophic injuries and other wrongful death matters. He is a passionate advocate for his clients including the countless child sexual abuse victims he currently represents.