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School district liable in Santa Clarita molestation case

March 8, 2012 | 12:04 pm

School districts may be held liable for the negligence of administrators who hire employees with a history of sexual misconduct, then fail to supervise them properly, the California Supreme Court decided unanimously Thursday.

The state high court ruling came in a lawsuit brought by a sexual molestation victim against the William S. Hart Union High School District. The suit said that district administrators knew or should have known that Roselyn Hubbell, a school counselor, had a history of sexual misconduct before hiring her to work at Golden Valley High School in Santa Clarita.

“Ample case authority establishes that school personnel owe students under their supervision a protective duty of ordinary care,” Justice Kathryn Mickle Werdegar wrote for the court. The suit contends that Hubbell molested a 15-year-old boy repeatedly in 2007. Hubbell eventually was arrested at a motel with another boy and charged with a misdemeanor. She no longer works at the school.

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-- Maura Dolan

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