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Lawsuit claims San Jose teacher forced student to have abortion

An explosive civil lawsuit has been filed in the case of a San Jose teacher who was recently arrested for sexual assault of a minor.

The lawsuit accuses Leigh High School teacher Shawn Thomas of getting a 15-year-old student pregnant and then forcing her to have an abortion decades ago. It also alleges a school dean helped cover it up and the dean was the teacher’s wife.

Thomas was arrested for the alleged sexual assault of a 15-year-old, the alleged victim’s attorney Lauren Cerri showed NBC Bay Area the lawsuit filed Wednesday with more detailed accusations of what Thomas supposedly did.

“The abuse occurred on school grounds,” she said. “He impregnated her, forced her to have an abortion. It was so difficult for her to have to do that and make that decision at such a young age. But he insisted on it, to the point she had it at 16 weeks.”

NBC Bay Area talked with the alleged victim’s sister by phone on Thursday, who echoed details in a statement. At her request, NBC Bay Area did not use her name and obscured her voice.

“For so many years, my sister thought it was her fault. She felt so much shame and guilt, especially after being forced to abort her child,” she said.

The alleged victim’s story takes a strange twist. After the abortion, she decided to report it to a school dean she trusted, Sarah Thomas, even though the alleged victim knew Sarah Thomas was at the time Shawn Thomas’s wife.

“It wasn’t obscure, it was clear as day,” Cerri said. “‘He’s having sex with me’ and the wife blamed her. Instead of putting the safety of students as top priority here, she protected him and said ‘How could you do this to me? After everything that I’ve done for you?’”

“She’s just now for the first time after 20 years, coming to the realization that she was just a child,” the victim’s sister said.

The Campbell Union High School District said in a statement that although the current leadership team was not at the district in 2003, they take “the allegations seriously and are deeply concerned.”

“Our foremost commitment remains the safety and well being of our students, families and staff. We will continue working with law enforcement to protect our community and support any victims in this case,” the district said.

At this point, the alleged victim does not have to detail what damages she’s seeking, except to say she wants better district policies on dealing with these situations.

San Jose police said it could provide any other details since it is an ongoing investigation.


Source: NBC Bay Area

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