Paramount Unified Educator Gillian Duran Charged With Sexual Abuse

Paramount Unified School District is being sued for allegedly failing to properly supervise and continuing to retain a teacher who sexually molested the plaintiff from 2001-2002. The teacher, Gillian Melba Duran, has been convicted and charged with 12 counts of child sexual abuse. She received a jail sentence and was required to register as a sex offender upon her release.

The suit is brought by an unidentified 30-year-old man who was in Duran’s class in his eighth-grade year. He alleges that Duran told him that his grades were dependent on his cooperation with her sexual advances.

The plaintiff in the suit is identified only as “John GD Doe.” According to the lawsuit, Duran had identified Doe as being vulnerable because he was an immigrant. Additionally, she was aware that he did not live with his parents and took public transportation back and forth to school. The lawsuit describes a pattern of grooming throughout the student’s eighth-grade year.

The lawsuit describes abuse that occurred both in the classroom and extended beyond it. There are claims that Duran would massage Doe’s shoulders in a sexual way in front of the other children in the classroom. She would also find a means of getting the, at the time, 14-year-old boy alone and tell him how much she liked him.

The abuse, according to the lawsuit, extended beyond the massaging and inappropriate proclamations, claiming that Doe was abused by Duran in her classroom during lunch hours.

Duran would allegedly also take advantage of Doe’s lack of transportation and drive him alone from school to her home. There, she would give the underage Doe alcohol and sexually assault him. While Doe was, according to the suit, shocked by the advances his teacher was making, he complied because he was told that his grades would be dependent on his compliance.

The lawsuit claims that Doe would eventually inform his father of the abuse that he suffered. It was his father who would inform the police. Duran would soon be arrested and charged. She faced 12 counts of child abuse, to which she confessed.

Duran is not the defendant in the lawsuit but rather the Paramount Unified School District that employed her. The suit alleges negligence on the part of the school district to properly supervise Duran. In particular, it notes Duran’s routine absence from required faculty events and meetings and other conduct on which school officials failed to take action.


Q: Are Institutions Responsible for the Sexual Abuse Committed by Employees or Others Associated With the Institution?

A: Yes, institutions generally can bear some responsibility for sexual abuse committed by those with direct involvement in the institution. The extent of that responsibility, though, will depend on a variety of factors. For instance, an institution can’t be criminally liable. However, other individuals involved with the institution could be criminally liable if they knowingly assisted the perpetrator or participated in the abuse.

Despite not being able to be criminally charged, institutions are subject to civil claims made against them. These claims can pay out monetary damages to the victim if the institution can be proven to be liable for what occurred.

Institutions are required to take reasonable steps to address and prevent any possible abuse. Failure to do so could be considered negligence and lead to liability on the part of the institution.

Q: How Could an Institution Be Negligent in Addressing or Preventing Sexual Abuse?

A: There are many reasonable measures that an institution can take to prevent sexual abuse. Failing to perform proper background checks in hiring, enact protocols and policies regarding the issue, and respond to concerns could all potentially be considered negligence.

Q: What Could Filing a Civil Claim Against an Institution Accomplish?

A: When someone files a civil claim for sexual abuse, it may accomplish two important functions. First, it can help find justice for the victim involved. This will primarily take the form of financial compensation. Of course, while money doesn’t fix anything that happened in the past with regard to sexual abuse, it may help in indirect ways.

Money also plays an important part in the second thing a civil claim may accomplish, which is prevention. For many victims of sexual abuse, playing a part in preventing others from experiencing what they have can be gratifying. Whether or not the court rules in the victim’s favor, the possibility of having to pay a significant amount of money can provide a strong incentive for institutions to put proper preventative measures in place.

Civil claims can establish a standard to which an institution should be held, as well as prevent further negligence from leading to abuse in the future.

The DeMarco Law Firm Advocates for the Justice That Victims Deserve

Too often, sexual abuse is allowed to occur by institutions that have failed to protect those under their care. It’s important that the perpetrator be criminally punished for their actions, but it’s also important that the institution be held to account for its failures. The courageous step by John Doe in this case is an attempt for both types of justice to be served.

If you’ve faced similar circumstances and are ready to seek justice, our office is ready to help. No matter how long ago the abuse occurred, you still have a right to seek justice. It’s not something you have to do alone, though, as our team is prepared to advocate for you and your rights.

We understand the care and sensitivity that these situations require and do everything in our power to care for our clients through this process. However, our sensitivity for our clients is paired with a fierce desire to see accountability for those responsible for what they’ve suffered. If you’ve been a victim of sexual abuse from Gillian Duran because of Paramount Unified School District’s negligence or any other institutional failure, contact us to discuss your options.