Education

Second civil lawsuit filed in molestation case at Sacramento after-school program

Joshua Rolando Vasquez
Joshua Rolando Vasquez Sacramento Police Department

The family of a girl molested in an after-school program at Mark Twain Elementary filed suit Monday against several parties, including the principal, the city of Sacramento and Sacramento City Unified School District.

Attorney Joseph George filed the suit in Sacramento Superior Court on behalf of a girl, now 9, who was called “AV Doe” in the lawsuit. The girl was blindfolded in 2015 in a classroom to play a “whipped cream game” with program leader Joshua Rolando Vasquez, the suit said.

Vasquez had a key to lock the classroom door, asked individual children to help clean the room at the end of the day, covered the windows of the room with butcher paper and purchased a video camera, according to the suit. George said police confiscated more than 20 video recordings during their investigation.

“It’s a red flag when school personnel put things up over their windows so nobody can see in the classroom,” George said.

Vasquez was sentenced Oct. 28 to 150 years to life in prison for molesting six children, ages 7 to 13. The suit names as defendants Vasquez, the district, the city – which operates the after-school program START – and Mark Twain Principal Rosario Guillen-Jovel.

Sacramento City Unified spokeswoman Janet Weeks said the district and principal would not comment on the suit, noting that neither had seen the document. The city did not provide a comment Monday.

It was the second civil suit filed against the district in the Vasquez case in recent weeks. In November, attorney Stewart Katz sued the district and the city on behalf of a victimized 10-year-old girl and her father.

Vasquez worked part time as a leader in the city’s after-school START program from 2010 until Nov. 18, 2015, when police advised the district that he was suspected of child sexual assault. On that day, Guillen-Jovel sent an email telling school parents that Vasquez had been released from district service. He also worked during recess and in the cafeteria during the day.

George said Vasquez was assigned his own room and received a key to lock the door in fall 2014. He purchased a camera and covered the classroom windows. He also recruited individual children to help him clean the classroom at the end of the day.

“He introduced the candy reward system,” George said. “He had free rein. He could lock the door.”

“He would run tests with kids to time how long it would take to bring them into his class, blindfold them, turn off the lights, lock the door and play the ‘prize box game,’ ” George said. “He refined his methods by these dry runs, which began as early as October of 2014,” when the first worried parent complained to the principal.

The girl in Monday’s suit told her family member on Nov. 17, 2015, about a “whipped cream game” Vasquez played while she was blindfolded, the filing said. The family made a report to police the same day. Detectives, in a search of the classroom, found an orange blindfold and other materials.

George said he expects to file additional lawsuits on behalf of other children who were in Vasquez’s care.

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