LAUSD Teacher’s Aide Lino Cabrera Sexual Abuse Charges

A lawsuit has recently been settled against LAUSD on behalf of 14 students who were alleged victims of a teacher’s assistant employed by the district.

Lino Cabrera, 27 years of age, was originally brought in on charges of one count of continued sexual abuse and five counts of lewd acts on a child under 14. Prosecutors in the case said that the sexual abuse occurred at LAUSD’s Oxnard Street Elementary between September 2016 and May 2019. They also said that the victims in the case were six girls between the ages of ten and 11.

Ultimately, Cabrera pleaded no contest to four counts of misdemeanor child molestation, along with a single felony count of committing a lewd act upon a child under 14 and a single felony count of continuous sexual abuse. He was sentenced to eight years in prison and will need to register as a sex offender for the remainder of his life.

According to officials, the charges and conviction were a result of Cabrera’s time working as a TA at North Hollywood’s Oxnard Elementary School. The charges stem from inappropriate touching of some of the girls who attended the school.

Following Cabrera’s conviction, a lawsuit was filed against the Los Angeles United School District on behalf of three of the girls. The suit would eventually be settled for $19.9 million on behalf of 14 different girls.

The lawsuit alleged wrongdoing and negligence on the part of LAUSD. In particular, it claimed that some of the abuse had allegedly occurred when teachers were present and when Cabrera had been left alone with the children. If true, this would have been in violation of a district policy that requires a teacher to be present for student supervision, even if a teacher’s assistant is present.

The suit also alleged that teachers were generally unaware of the types of conduct they should have been reporting and that there had been a failure on the part of the district to educate them properly.

One result of the settlement is that the district will not need to admit to any wrongdoing. The settlement continues a pattern that has been seen regarding L.A. Unified, which has previously paid out $40 million, $58 million, and $200 million in prior sexual misconduct cases.


Q: When Are School Districts Liable for Sexual Abuse Committed by Their Teachers?

A: A school district is liable for the sexual abuse that a teacher has committed when they have failed to provide reasonable measures to reduce or eliminate the foreseeable risk of sexual abuse. In other words, a school can enact policies that could be beneficial and impactful in proactively preventing sexual abuse by their staff. Failing to do these things could be considered negligent and result in liability on the part of the district.

Q: How Could a School District Be Negligent in the Case of Sexual Abuse?

A: The negligence of a school district will generally be highly case-specific. However, there are some more common issues that result in negligence. One source of negligence is performing an inadequate background check before hiring a staff member. Another possibility could be that a district has insufficiently supervised its staff and allowed them too much leeway in their behavior around students.

Another common example, as was alleged in Cabrera’s circumstance, is that the school may fail to train teachers and staff properly to identify and report inappropriate or abusive behavior.

Q: What Is the Impact of a Civil Claim Against an Institution for Sexual Abuse?

A: Filing a civil claim against institutions that failed to take proper measures to prevent abuse has benefits to both the victims and others under the same or similar institutional authority. One benefit to the victim is the financial element.

Money can never fix or undo the damage caused by sexual abuse, but it may be able to give a victim space to work through their trauma. It may even be a benefit to identify an institutional failure, as certain victims may be blamed or blame themselves for their abuse.

Civil claims against an institution can be a catalyst for change. The desire to avoid facing similar lawsuits and payouts could spur institutions to take prevention seriously, implement proper policies, and make protecting children under their care a priority.

If You or a Loved One Has Been Molested or Sexual Abused in LAUSD or Elsewhere, We May Be Able to Help

The victims of sexual abuse by school staff have a right to justice in all forms. Criminal justice, served by the criminal process, should target the individual or individuals who were directly involved in committing the abuse. However, those who should have implemented policies and taken action to prevent the abuse should also face consequences for their failures.

Civil law can be a tool for holding those indirectly responsible for sexual abuse accountable. While a civil claim could result in a monetary award to the victim, it could also spur change in the at-fault institution and others, possibly preventing future abuse. Given LAUSD’s history of sexual abuse, the school district should implement changes. It’s also possible that, with their poor record, there are other stories of abuse that are yet to be heard.

If you or a loved one has such a story, the DeMarco Law Firm may be able to help you seek the compensation you are owed. Not only that, but we may also be able to help you trigger change that protects more children in the future. However, you don’t have to file a claim until you are ready. No matter when the abuse you suffered occurred, your rights to seek justice are valid.

We are fierce advocates for victims of abuse and have made it our mission to seek justice on their behalf. Reach out to our compassionate team today.