Crime

Student sexually abused by teacher sues Paso Robles school district

Jeremy Ryan Monn, 30, of Paso Robles was arrested Tuesday, June 3, 2014, on suspicion of unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor. Original story »
Jeremy Ryan Monn, 30, of Paso Robles was arrested Tuesday, June 3, 2014, on suspicion of unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor. Original story »

The student victim of a former Paso Robles High School agriculture instructor convicted of having sex with her is suing her former teacher and the school district, alleging the district was negligent in monitoring the instructor following allegations of illegal behavior.

The lawsuit suggests, however, that Paso Robles Joint Unified School District was lied to about the teacher’s past from his previous school district, which was looking to quietly rid themselves of teacher Jeremy Monn following similar crimes there.

Monn, 31, pleaded no contest last month to felony charges of sexual intercourse with a person under 18 and dissuading a witness. In exchange for the plea, prosecutors moved to dismiss other charges of illegal sexual intercourse, meeting with a minor for lewd purposes and misdemeanor child molestation.

Monn is scheduled to be sentenced July 13 in San Luis Obispo Superior Court.

The victim, who was 16 at the time of the crimes and not named in the lawsuit, was sexually abused during the 2013-14 school year by Monn, who was working at the high school as a teacher and adviser for several programs including FFA.

In April, Monn was sentenced to four years and four months in prison for having sex in 2013 with a 15-year-old student in Merced and La Grange, where he previously taught at Don Pedro High School in a small community near Yosemite, according to the Merced Sun-Star.

The Union Democrat newspaper in Sonora reported that Paso Robles police investigating Monn led Merced authorities to Monn’s first victim. He was arrested there in December 2014.

The San Luis Obispo District Attorney’s Office said in a news release that Monn is expected to be sentenced to a combined term of seven years in prison for both cases. He will also be required to register as a sex offender.

The lawsuit filed Monday in San Luis Obispo Superior Court lists defendants including Monn, the Paso Robles school district, Big Oak Flat Groveland Unified School District in Groveland, Calif., and its superintendent Dave Urquhart.

Chris Williams, superintendent of the Paso Robles Joint Unified School District, said Tuesday that the district had not yet received the lawsuit and did not have a comment on its allegations.

“But we will be sure to exhaust all avenues to provide the appropriate legal resources once we are able to review it,” Williams said.

Neither officials from the Big Oak Flat Groveland school district nor David Ring, who is representing the victim, responded to requests for comment Tuesday.

The lawsuit alleges that Monn targeted and manipulated female students at Don Pedro High School and persuaded one victim to have a sexual relationship with him. Rumors about the crime began to circulate in the small school, the lawsuit says, and one student reported the allegations to Urquhart, who is also principal at Don Pedro.

But instead of reporting Monn to police, the lawsuit alleges, Urquhart told Monn the district would give him a favorable recommendation if he found a job elsewhere.

“(Big Oak) wanted to rid themselves of Monn because of the scandal that would result if the incidents became public,” the lawsuit reads. “(Big Oak) said they would facilitate Monn obtaining a new position at a new school district.”

When Monn applied for a position with the Paso Robles school district, district administrators contacted Big Oak for a reference check, the document says.

“Specifically, Paso Robles was told, among other things, that Monn had never been the subject of any discipline, that Monn was a model teacher, that Monn would make a great fit at Paso Robles, and that Monn was an excellent educator and was of high moral character,” the lawsuit reads.

“They knew Monn had been involved with an underage female student, had conducted himself in a completely unprofessional manner, and was not someone who should be teaching at any school.”

However, the lawsuit also alleges that Paso Robles Joint Unified School District was negligent in its supervision of Monn after administration heard rumors about him during the 2013-14 school year and failed to investigate.

“By failing to adequately supervise, monitor, or investigate, (Paso Robles school district) allowed Monn to continue, unhindered, with his predatory conduct directed toward underage students, including (the victim),” the lawsuit reads.

The victim and her guardian filed the lawsuit after claims for damages to both the Paso Robles and Big Oak Flat Groveland school districts were rejected in January.

The victim is seeking punitive damages against Monn and Urquhart, as well as unspecified general damages and recovery of attorney fees.

A case management conference for the civil case had not yet been scheduled as of Tuesday.

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