A former student who impregnated his high school teacher is now suing both the teacher and Redlands, California school district.
The former student remains unnamed. He was 16 when he impregnated sophomore English teacher Laura Whitehurst. The lawsuit alleges that not only did Whitehurst engage in sexually acts with him as a minor, but that other faculty at the school knew of their relationship and failed to report it.
“School staff knew Whitehurst was in a sexual relationship with the boy and they had a duty to help to protect kids,” attorney Vince Finaldi said.
According to a police search warrant, administrators with the Redland School District began investigating allegations against Whitehurst of sexual abuse but failed to report the investigation to police.
The school district said the claims in the lawsuit are “simply untrue.”
After her arrest, Whitehurst was charged with 41 felony counts of sexual abuse. She later accepted a plea deal that charged her with four felony counts of unlawful sex and two counts of oral copulation with someone under 18 years of age. She was sentenced to one year in jail and was released after six months. Several other former students have since come forward claiming past sexual relationships with her.
The child she conceived with the victim in the lawsuit is now seven months old.
"Children in California and children in Redlands should not be a sex toy for their teacher," attorney John Manly said. "Unfortunately, we believe -- and we believe the evidence will show -- that is precisely what's occurred in the Redlands Unified School District."
The lawsuit accuses the school district of nepotism and says Whitehurst’s parents got involved and kept the abuse allegations under wraps. Whitehurst’s father has worked as both a principal and assistant principal at several Redland District schools.
In court last summer, the young father spoke about the way he views his past relationship with Whitehurst.
“Physically, I feel sick to my stomach thinking about the manipulation I was subjected to,” he said.
The lawsuit claims that the father, who is now a college student, suffered emotional, physical, and financial damages from his relationship with Whitehurst. The lawsuit seeks punitive damages for negligence, fraud, sexual battery, assault, harassment, and intentional infliction of emotional distress.