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A former Diablo View Middle School student who was abused by a teacher filed a lawsuit this week against that teacher, the school principal and the Mt. Diablo Unified School District. The former student, now 18, who is referred to in the complaint as “Jane Doe,” alleges in the suit that sexual abuse and other misconduct at the hands of her former teacher Andrew Cottrell caused her emotional stress and psychological and physical injuries.
Doe is seeking at least $25,000 in damages. She claims in the complaint, filed in Contra Costa County Superior Court, that the abuse could have been prevented if school principal Patti Bannister had responded to multiple complaints about Cottrell, and if the school district had properly supervised the teacher, who she alleges had a history of inappropriate conduct with students. Neither Bannister nor Greg Rolen, the district’s general counsel, could be reached for comment this morning. Doe’s parents found out about the abuse in 2011. Cottrell was convicted on child molestation charges and is now serving a nine-year prison sentence.
The complaint states that Cottrell began grooming Doe when she entered his class as an 11-year-old at the Clayton middle school, playing the part of the “cool teacher”. When the girl was in seventh grade, Cottrell, who taught math and science, kept her after school to clean his classroom, according to the suit. The following year, the lawsuit alleges, Cottrell began flirting with Doe, giving her gifts and lending her CDs. Cottrell began sexually abusing the girl when she was in high school, both at his home and in the closet of his middle school classroom, according to the complaint.
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