GLENDALE – A final status conference is scheduled for June in a lawsuit filed by two women who allege they were sexually abused by a track coach while they were students at South Pasadena High School.
The plaintiffs, identified only as Jane Does, filed the lawsuit in Los Angeles Superior Court in March 2016, alleging negligence and sexual harassment and seeking unspecified damages from the South Pasadena Unified School District. The case was later transferred to Glendale Superior Court.
The final status conference was originally scheduled for March 26, then was delayed until May 14 because of the coronavirus crisis and courthouse closures. Judge Ralph Hofer then rescheduled it again, this time for June 22.
No trial date is set.
The original lawsuit alleged that various district and school officials, including Superintendent Geoff Yantz, SPHS Principal Janet Anderson and Athletic Director Mark Zalin, had an obligation to monitor then-track coach Pierre Jonas Hernandez and protect all students. However, Zalin’s name was removed from any mention in an amended complaint filed a month later.
In their court papers, lawyers for the district argued the actions of Hernandez “are not imputable to the district.”
Both plaintiffs say they were minors at the time of the alleged sexual abuse. The suit alleges that Hernandez began molesting one of the plaintiffs in April 2013 and that some of the incidents took place on campus, including in a locker room where he inappropriately touched her.
The plaintiff later began to experience emotional difficulties from being molested and later realized her mental problems were caused by Hernandez’s conduct, the suit alleges.
Hernandez began abusing the second plaintiff in April 2014, and some of the misconduct also took place at the high school, according to the suit.
During one on-campus encounter, Hernandez “insisted that he give Jane Doe a full body massage in an underground boys’ locker room with nobody else around,” the suit alleges.
The second plaintiff also suffered emotional harm, according to the complaint.
Hernandez, 33, pleaded no contest to misdemeanor charges of child molestation and sexual battery involving one girl, but it was not clear if the victim in the criminal case is also one of the plaintiffs in the civil suit.
Alhambra Superior Court Judge Jon Takasugi sentenced Hernandez in 2015 to 180 days in jail — with service by electronic monitoring — along with five years probation and ordered him to register as a sex offender for life.
He was a track coach at SPHS for about seven years.