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  1. Education

Family sues Pasco school district over alleged sexual assault at school

A former Ridgewood High teacher faces two charges of sexual assault of a minor.
Pasco School District headquarters in Land O'Lake

A west Pasco County parent has sued the school district, alleging its negligence allowed her child to be sexually abused several times by a Ridgewood High teacher at the school campus.

Robotics teacher Sean Gallegos was arrested in March 2018 and faces two charges of sexual assault of a minor child by a custodial authority.

The family contends that the school district should be held financially responsible, as it failed to properly supervise the teen or the teacher, and it did not provide adequate security as a precaution to "foreseeable criminal acts on the premises." The family argues that the district should have known about prior instances of sexual misconduct by employees against students, and done something about it.

"All parents hope and trust that school is a safe and nurturing place for their children," Morgan & Morgan attorney Paul Fulmer said in a released statement. "In failing to supervise its students and teachers, as our complaint alleges, the Pasco County School Board shattered that trust and left a young girl vulnerable to ongoing, devastating sexual assault. She will be affected by this for the rest of her life."

The complaint says the victim, whose name is not being published, suffered physical and psychological injuries, and incurred medical expenses for treatment. It asks for a judgment in excess of $15,000.

Dennis Alfonso, the School Board's attorney, said he had not seen the complaint. He added that he would not comment on ongoing litigation.

Gallegos no longer works for the school district. Ridgewood High has been converted into Krinn Technical High.

Contact Jeffrey S. Solochek at jsolochek@tampabay.com or . Follow @jeffsolochek.

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