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Lawsuit Claims Former History Teacher Seduced Teenage Teacher’s Assistant

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LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — A young woman claims in a lawsuit filed this week she was sexually abused by her former history teacher when she was a student at California High School in Whittier.

The plaintiff, identified as Jane Doe in a Los Angeles Superior Court lawsuit filed Wednesday, alleges sexual abuse of a minor, general negligence, negligent hiring and retention of an employee, negligent supervision and breach of mandatory duty.

The woman, who is now 18, is seeking unspecified compensatory damages from Whittier Union High School District and the former teacher, John Orellano. She also wants punitive damages from 37-year-old Orellano, a Cypress resident who was also the junior varsity boys basketball coach at the school.

Orellano has since resigned from the district, according to the lawsuit.

The lawsuit says the plaintiff was 15 and a sophomore when Orellano befriended her, paying her special attention, complimenting her on her looks and inviting her into his classroom at lunch and after school.

The girl served as Orellano’s teacher’s assistant in the 11th grade at his request, according to the lawsuit, and he began texting her “in a calculated plan to have her become emotionally attached to him.”

The text messages were “personal in nature and soon became sexual in nature,” according to the lawsuit.

The lawsuit claims the student was manipulated to the point that she felt she was in love with Orellano, who subsequently induced her into a sexual relationship beginning in early 2013.

WUHSD administrators found out about the text messages in March 2013 and soon thereafter began an investigation, which led to Orellano being suspended, the suit states. He later resigned.

The complaint alleges the district should have known Orellano had problems at schools where he previously worked and should not have hired him in 2010. The lawsuit also claims that district officials should have been aware that he was frequently alone in his classroom with the girl.

(©2014 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)

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