Former student sues Yakima School District in sexual assault case
YAKIMA, Wash. - A former student is suing Yakima School District (YSD) on claims that she was sexually assaulted by a school employee at Franklin Middle School.
The lawsuit alleges that school district employee, Aristeo Garcia-Rubio, 33, talked to the 12-year-old student about boyfriends during and after school and walked her home after school throughout fall of 2014, according to a press release from Tamaki Law.
According to attorney Bryan Smith, school officials knew their employee was sexually targeting a student and chose not to fire him.
"The lawsuit alleges that the school district had actual notice of a teacher inappropriately sexually grooming a student and failed to take appropriate action and as a result my client was raped, at the age of 12," Smith said.
In December 2014, the student's mother reported her concerns to the school after she witnessed the employee walking her daughter home after school.
The school investigated, interviewing the student, Garcia-Rubio and other students for information. Garcia-Rubio admitted to walking the student home and having inappropriate conversations with her, reports said.
Other female students said Garcia-Rubio behaved inappropriately with them as well, stating he would talk about how pretty the girls were, asking them why they didn't have boyfriends and being single.
The school allegedly contacted police out of concern that the employee committed a crime, but a police investigation did not find probable cause for a crime.
The school district chose to suspend the employee for five days with pay in February 2015 on conclusions that he violated school policy.
Garcia-Rubio then continued working at the school with no apparent restrictions from students, according to the girl's lawyers.
Smith said this is where the school went wrong.
"To continue to give him access to children after being on notice of his behavior," he said. "That's what the lawsuit is based upon."
The employee continued to sexually groom the student in the spring of 2015 during and after school hours.
He invited the student into his home near the school where he molested her multiple times and raped her, attorneys said.
Garcia-Rubio was convicted of second degree rape of a child. He is now serving a life term with a minimum of 10 years in prison.
Prosecutors said that Garcia-Rubio abused his position of trust and access because he was an educator and she was a student.
Action News contacted YSD and said they wouldn't be able to comment at this time because they had not yet received the lawsuit.
When reached for comment Sept. 6, the district responded by saying "as a policy our school board requests that we do not comment during active litigation."