Did L.A. Unified miss signs of sexual abuse at a Highland Park high school?

Jaime Jimenez | LAPD

HIGHLAND PARK — It’s been a year since volunteer football coach Jaime Jimenez was arrested for allegedly molesting students for more than a decade at Franklin High. The school district has been sued over the case, which the L.A. Times says is one of numerous examples of L.A. Unified being accused of failing to recognize or even ignoring signs and complaints of sexual misconduct. The results have taken an enormous emotional and financial toll.

Prosecutors have filed more than 30 felony counts against the 47-year-old former coach related to incidents involving sexual contact dating back to 2001.  Earlier this month,  a lawsuit was filed against the school district over its failure to protect the Franklin students and take action against Jimenez. A lawyer representing some of the victims told the Times that school staff saw one of his clients coming and going to campus in Jimenez’ car in violation of district policies. Said the Times:

“Witnesses ranging in age from 16 to 27 testified in February that, over 14 years, Jimenez, a walk-on coach who assisted the full-time staff, gave them rides from practice, bought them gifts, regularly had students to his house to play computer games and to watch movies and football on TV. They frequently slept over; sometimes he plied them with alcohol, they said. He allegedly ratcheted up sexual contact, moving from touching to masturbation and sodomy. A fixture in the Franklin community, Jimenez knew some of his alleged victims when they were in elementary school; one testified that the abuse began when he was 9.”

Officials have told The Times that the district has adopted policies to prevent and report sexual misconduct against students. But during the past four years, L.A. Unified has paid out more than $300 million in connection with abuse cases.

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