The Archdiocese of Los Angeles and a Long Beach Catholic all-girls high school have been issued a sexual abuse lawsuit this month by a former student and her father who allege that both entities bear responsibility for sexual abuse committed by a volunteer school coach. That coach, Scott Landerville, 56, shot himself in July 2015 after being confronted by the teenager’s father.
The plaintiffs in this Los Angeles Superior Court lawsuit identify themselves as John and Jane Doe and are seeking reparative damages totaling $15 million from both parties. This complaint alleges child sexual abuse, false imprisonment, assault and battery, as well as intentional and negligent infliction of emotional distress on the part of Scott Landerville and the failure of administrators to adequately investigate rumors regarding Landerville’s questionable conduct with young girls when working as a coach at St. Lucy Catholic School.
According to the complaint, Jane Doe moved into the Landerville home in September 2014 as a type of foster home while her father was recovering from a devastating automobile accident out-of-state (situations with her mother were not amiable to staying). The suit states that Jane Doe was excited at the prospect as the opportunity allowed her to finish out the remainder of her senior year at the Catholic high school with her friends, as well as enable her to continue on with her volleyball team. Landerville and the Doe family had up to this point been in good friendship.
However, within four months of moving into the household, Landerville allegedly began making inappropriate comments of a sexual nature regarding the teenager’s body and denigrated John Doe’s parenting and Jane Doe’s boyfriend. The verbal abuse turned to physical and sexual abuse in February 2015 when Jane Doe was 17 years old.
After Jane Doe reported the sexual abuse to her father, John Doe returned to Long Beach to confront Landerville. Two days following this event, Landerville committed suicide in his backyard. The suit makes note that Jane Doe continues to have “thoughts of suicide and severe guilt over Scott killing himself.”
While the archdiocese and the school are not being indicted for the sexual abuse itself, they are being accused of knowing about Landerville’s “dangerous and exploitive propensities” with the young girls in his charge. The lawsuit alleges that the sexual abuse occurred due to the Principal’s unwillingness to thoroughly vet Landerville and later allow him continued contact with children without supervision after questions were raised about potential misconduct.
If you have been injured or abused and are in need of a personal injury lawyer in Torrance or Los Angeles, please contact our office via the form below for a free personal injury case evaluation.