Skip to main content

San Bernardino Superior Judge Bryan Foster was correct in dismissing a student’s case against the Rialto Unified School District and teacher Bryan Servin for allegedly sexually harassing her, the Court of Appeal ruled Oct. 7.

In addition to this civil case, Servin pleaded guilty to a felony charge of a lewd acts with a child Aug. 24, 2021.  He was sentenced to 180 days in county jail and three years of probation, which would end Oct. 26, 2024.

The student claimed Servin sent her shirtless pictures of himself while she was in seventh and eighth grades, and a member of the anime club Servin was the supervisor of.

She claimed Servin pressured her to send topless photos back, and brought her into his classroom closet where he would hug her, rub her back and play with her. This continued until he groped and kissed her in his classroom in February 2019.

The student then told a classmate, who told a parent, who told the school, the ruling says.

“(The student)’s cause of action (for negligent supervision of action) fails because she has not provided evidence of what, if anything, Servin’s supervisors knew about Servin’s propensity for sexual abuse.”

The Court of Appeal

The student’s complaint brought seven causes of action, including for negligent supervision of action and sexual harassment, the ruling says. For both causes, the student’s complaint claimed the Rialto Unified School District was aware of Servin’s sexual misconduct.

When they requested the case be dismissed, the district argued that Servin was hired in August, 2016, passed a background check and had not been the subject of complaints.

The district said they removed Servin from campus and placed him on administrative leave after hearing the classmate’s testimony regarding his kiss and messages to the student.

Servin’s abuse was not foreseeable, and the district did not ratify his misconduct because they knew of no misconduct before they suspended him, the district argued.

The student disagreed. Her reply in court said that Servin was generally creepy toward female students. A classmate said another teacher questioned students about Servin’s behavior, and discussed Servin’s behavior with her teacher’s assistant. A second classmate declared that the entire class knew that Servin was behaving inappropriately.

The Court of Appeal agreed with the school and Foster that the student provided no evidence that school administrators knew about Servin’s sexual abuse.

“(The student)’s cause of action (for negligent supervision of action) fails because she has not provided evidence of what, if anything, Servin’s supervisors knew about Servin’s propensity for sexual abuse. (The student)’s evidence establishes that students and a teacher were aware that Servin was ‘creepy.’ There is no credible evidence that a supervisor knew anything about the ‘creepy’ behavior observed by students,” the Court of Appeal wrote.

On her sexual misconduct charge, the student argued that the school ratified Servin’s sexual misconduct by allowing him to remain on campus the day that the school was informed of his actions, by informing him of the charge against him and by not providing security tapes to an investigator.

The Court of Appeal and San Bernardino Superior Court found that she could not bring charges on those grounds. The school removed him from campus as soon as administrators could come to a consensus, and they informed him of the charges  when they placed him on administrative leave, without the intent to help him destroy evidence, the Court of Appeal ruled. The surveillance tapes in question were not available for some reason, but it was a Rialto police officer who said that, not a school employee, the court also said.

Case information

San Bernardino Superior Court Case No. CIVDS1925986.

Court of Appeal Case No. E077017.

Ben Meiselas, Noah Geldberg, Justice Turner and Dev Das of Geragos & Geragos represented the student.

Dana McCune and Joseph Cheung represented the Rialto Unified School District.

Fourth District Court of Appeal, Division Two, Acting Presiding Justice Douglas Miller wrote the opinion, which Associate Justices Richard Fields and Frank Menetrez joined.

Read the ruling here.

Topics to follow


            

            

                        
assignment_turned_in Registrations

    
     
   

Subscribe now for free

Follow Our Courts will never charge for access to our content, and we will not sell your information.

Password must be at least 7 characters long.
Password must be at least 7 characters long.
Please login to view this page.
Please login to view this page.
Please login to view this page.