Fontana Unified School District employees file lawsuit www.privateofficer.com
Fontana CA Aug 11 2012 Two Fontana Unified School District employees have sued a former district police officer for alleged sexual assault while at work, and they have also sued the district for allegedly failing to prevent harassment at the work site.
Administrative Technician Amanda Vandervoort and Lead Campus Security Officer Gina Chavers allege that Officer John Garcia, a former coordinator of the Fontana Leadership Intervention Program (FLIP), sexually assaulted them while at work and in the field.
However, no criminal charges have been filed against Garcia, an award-winning officer who previously worked as a Fontana Police Department officer before joining the School Police.
Garcia could not be immediately reached for comment. The FUSD has not yet responded to the allegations.
Chavers’ attorney, Brian Hannemann, claimed Garcia also sexually harassed a young female Fontana Police Department cadet prior to working with the district and had sexual relationships with at least two FLIP mothers in addition to sexually harassing at least two known victims, the lawsuit says.
In the lawsuit, Vandervoort alleges the first incident occurred on or about Nov. 25, 2010, when she was working as a dispatcher for School Police services. Around 11 p.m. when Garcia’s shift ended, he allegedly sexually assaulted her.
According to the lawsuit, the second incident occurred in February of 2011 while she was working.
Due to these incidents, Vandervoort went out of work in November of 2011 on stress leave and sought and received psychological treatment, the lawsuit says.
Vandervoort returned to work in mid-January of 2012 and discussed the issue with current School Police Chief William Megenney, who allegedly said the internal investigation on Garcia was coming to an end shortly, the lawsuit says.
Meanwhile, Chavers alleges that during work hours, Garcia repeatedly made sexual advancements on her and constantly bragged about his sexual conquests of two mothers of FLIP students.
Chavers also claimed that the first time she was sexually attacked was on Oct. 9, 2010 while at work, the lawsuit says. At that time, Chavers allegedly fought Garcia, preventing a sexual assault. According to the lawsuit, Chavers fought Garcia twice more. When she told supervisors about the incidents, she was told to file a complaint.
Both women were interviewed during the district’s internal investigation and both found out that in October of 2011, the San Bernardino County District Attorney’s Office had rejected filing criminal charges against Garcia.
However, the district’s internal investigation was reopened due to more complaints against Garcia, the lawsuit says.
According to Hannemann, Garcia was terminated and is currently engaged in arbitration proceedings with the district by claiming he was wrongfully fired.
According to the FUSD website, Garcia was hired in June of 2008 and came to the district with seven years of experience with the Riverside Police Department and the Sheriff’s Special Office in Orange County.
Garcia was assigned to Fontana A.B. Miller High School and was recognized for arresting several individuals on charges of weapons and drug possession and sales in close proximity to a school or city park. Due to “his commitment to duty,” Garcia received the Excellence in Policing Award on May 21, 2009.
Both women are seeking punitive damages against Garcia. Chavers is seeking $3 million in compensatory fees and $1 million in attorney fees.
Source:fontana herald news