2 girls' families file claim against Santa Ana school district after teacher accused of molestation

Jessica De Nova Image
Thursday, October 6, 2022
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The families of two young students have filed a claim against the Santa Ana Unified School District after prosecutors declined to charge a substitute teacher accused of molesting four children.

SANTA ANA, Calif. (KABC) -- It's something no parent wants to hear: The person entrusted with their child's safety at school is an accused predator.

But that's where Fabiola Santana Carrasco found herself in May.

She received the dreaded phone call from the principal at her daughter's school, John Adams Elementary School in Santa Ana. Her child's substitute teacher was under arrest.

In an interview, Santana Carrasco said four girls spoke up, saying the teacher inappropriately touched them.

Eyewitness News is not naming the man, after learning on Monday that the Orange County district attorney's office declined to prosecute him. A spokesperson for the DA's office said prosecutors rejected the case due to insufficient evidence.

But two of the girls' families are taking legal action.

"There is no other recourse for justice for these four girls -- for two of the four that we represent -- other than the claim we're filing," attorney Ned Menoyo said. "And we're going to ask a lot of hard questions, should this proceed -- why he was hired, what the school district knew about it, when they knew about him."

According to the claim sent to the Santa Ana Unified School District: the substitute, a former teacher of nearly two decades in the district, sexually molested Santana Carrasco's 9-year-old daughter by rubbing his hand over and across her chest, up and down her back and her buttocks, over her clothes -- this after the substitute allegedly leered at her backside in an overtly sexual manner.

The student told a lunch lady about the incident, confirming it with her mom later at home.

Three other girls accused the substitute teacher of sexual molestation on the same day. Administrators called Santa Ana police, and the teacher was arrested but later posted bail.

Santana Carrasco said she feels angry that "they're letting a person who is causing harm go free."

"And he's harming the innocent, stealing their innocence," she said.

A spokesperson said the school district does not comment on pending or ongoing litigation.

Santana Carrasco said her daughter now attends a different school but she'll carry this with her for the rest of her life -- and she wants justice.

"We are humble people," the mother said. "Some think we don't have a right to complain or speak up. But we can speak."

The law firm representing the students' families urges anyone who may have similar accusations to contact them immediately.