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High School Student Alleges Yuba City School District was Negligent in Sexual Assault Case Involving Jim Whiteaker

In a new development in the high-profile sexual assault case against Yuba City High School teacher and Sutter County Supervisor Jim Whiteaker, a 14-year-old female high school student and her mother are suing Yuba City School District for negligence.

During a news conference held outside the Sutter County Superior Courthouse, Attorney Paul Matiasic, who is representing the student and her mother, said, “Specific complaints by students and their parents were made to managing agents at the highest level, including to the current superintendent. Yet, these agents failed to act.”

The student plaintiff alleges that Whiteaker inappropriately touched female students in five separate incidents, including when he allegedly grabbed the plaintiff’s buttocks and physically assaulted students on eight other occasions. The plaintiff alleges that she informed another P.E. teacher about Whiteaker grabbing her, only to have the teacher essentially shrug off the incident and state that men that age “like to play around like that.”

The lawsuit also alleges that the school district, as well as both the current superintendent, Doreen Osumi, and retired superintendent, Nancy Aaberg, was willfully negligent during Whiteaker’s more than two decades of teaching at the school. In the claim, the plaintiff alleges that the school district knew about Whiteaker’s history of inappropriate behavior, yet did nothing. Instead, according to the complaint, school staff simply turned a blind eye, failing in their duty to adequately report allegations of sexual assault, which is mandatory by law.

Recent investigations have revealed that Whiteaker received a letter of reprimand in 1998 from then-Superintendent William L. Wong.

The letter, which came after complaints that Whiteaker had inappropriately touched both a student and a fellow staff member in two separate incidents, states that Whiteaker was to “refrain from any unwarranted or unwelcomed physical contact with students or employees.”

In a written complaint to the school, the student alleged that Whiteaker had touched and cupped her breast on numerous occasions. The school employee, meanwhile, complained of Whiteaker showing up at her home uninvited and making unwanted and inappropriate physical contact, including touching the sides of her breasts and being aroused while hugging her.

Despite the allegations against him, Whiteaker is still employed with the Yuba County School District and is currently on paid administrative leave while investigations continue. His attorney, Roberto Marquez, is adamant that, in the incident involving the 14-year-old high school student, Whiteaker was merely attempting to break up a fight between the plaintiff and another the student. The plaintiff, meanwhile, asserts that she and a friend were simply roughhousing. Marquez has also stated that Whiteaker has never been disciplined in regards to any of the complaints made against him, despite the letter of reprimand in 1998.

On behalf of the student plaintiff and her mother, Attorney Matiasic has filed a claim that states the school district was negligent in its hiring of Whiteaker, as well as in its lack of supervision and continued employment of the teacher despite numerous complaints and sexual assault allegations against him. The plaintiff is seeking recovery for damages including emotional distress, therapy, and more. She and her mother also wish to hold the school district accountable.

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