She was 11 when she said a teacher assaulted her. Now, she’s suing her Sacramento school
A young woman is suing Twin Rivers Unified School District, alleging the administration failed to prevent sexual abuse by a teacher who was arrested last month on charges that he committed lewd acts against a minor.
The woman, now 20, said the teacher who led the Del Paso Heights Elementary School broadcast club, Kim Kenneth Wilson, sexually assaulted her on campus when she was in sixth grade. She filed the suit Wednesday in Sacramento Superior Court.
The young woman’s lawyer said her client, identified as Jane Doe, kept the abuse secret for years, reporting it to police in 2022 after she finally confided in her siblings. A second girl has also reported to police that Wilson sexually abused her.
Attorney Lauren Cerri said Doe lived with “shame and guilt” for all of her teenage years. Cerri said it’s common for victims to blame themselves for being abused, and to second-guess whether they should tell anyone about it, “So no, she didn’t report it for years.”
Twin Rivers Director of Communications Zenobia Gerald said in an email, “As with all pending litigation matters, we cannot comment on the case at this time.”
Officers from the Sacramento Police Department arrested Wilson, 63, on Jan. 20. He faces two felony charges for lewd acts with a child under 14 and one for possession of images depicting child sexual abuse. Wilson remains in custody at the Sacramento County Main Jail.
According to the complaint, Wilson “groomed” Doe during the school year. Cerri said that he singled Doe out and “made her feel as though he (saw) something special in her.”
Wilson was the faculty adviser for the broadcasting club, whose students, including Doe, had access to a soundproof room on campus. The complaint says that on multiple occasions, Wilson took his sixth grade student into this windowless, locked, padded room and took photos of her, fondled her, touched her genitals and forced her to perform oral sex.
Cerri has worked on many lawsuits involving sexual abuse in schools. “What I’ve seen in these cases repeatedly,” she said, “is that predators find some sort of way to gain access to children outside of class time.”
Sacramento police have said that in 2019, the Twin Rivers Unified School District Police Department received and then shelved a report that Wilson engaged in lewd conduct with a minor in 2014. That report was not made by Doe. Police have created a tipline for the case: 916-808-0170.
“We know there’s this one other,” Cerri said, though she noted that the other student has not contacted her. Twin Rivers Unified School District, she said, needs better policies to prevent sexual abuse in the first place.
“The goal is to eradicate sexual abuse in schools,” she said. “Make schools safer, make sure that schools have policies, procedures, training in place, so that if a teacher is isolating students, spending time with students alone, outside class time, if there’s red flags, that the school acts on them right away.”