Renowned feminist lawyer Gloria Allred has filed suit on behalf of a Nipomo High School student who was allegedly abused by one of the school’s former wrestling coaches.
The suit alleges Justin Magdaleno sexually molested the girl during a wrestling camp held at Nipomo High and that the victim saw the coach carrying out the same abuse on other girls. Allred’s lawsuit names Magdaleno, Nipomo High and the Lucia Mar Unified School district, and it alleges school officials did nothing to prevent the abuse.
Magdaleno, a wrestling coach and teacher at Nipomo High, was placed on administrative leave last fall when the Lucia Mar Unified School District launched an investigation into allegations of sexually inappropriate contact with some girls on the wrestling team. About 10 members of the girls wrestling team accused Magdaleno of making inappropriate comments about their bodies. Other students accused the coach of inappropriate touching.
Following a multi-month investigation of its own, the county sheriff’s office sent a report to the SLO County District Attorney’s Office recommending charges of lewd acts with a minor under 14 years old and annoying or molesting a child under 18. But, the district attorney’s office declined to file charges, citing a lack of proof beyond a reasonable doubt that Magdaleno committed the alleged crimes.
Allred filed suit on behalf of a 14-year-old girl who is now a student at Nipomo High. The victim was a 7thgrader and a member of the co-ed wrestling team at Mesa Elementary School when Magdaleno began scouting her, according to the suit. Magadaleno invited the girl to attend the 2016 summer wrestling camp at Nipomo High.
During the camp, while demonstrating wrestling moves, Magadaleno grabbed the victim’s breasts and butt and used multiple fingers to touch her vaginal area and “digitally penetrate” her vagina, the lawsuit states. The victim witnessed Magdaleno commit the same assaults on three other students, according to the suit. Additionally, Magdaleno allegedly pushed his erect penis against the victim’s body through her clothing.
When the victim told a member of the Nipomo High girls’ wrestling team about the incidents, the student allegedly told her, “You just get used to it.” After the victim began attending Nipomo High in 2016-2017 and joined the wrestling team, Magdaleno continued to physically abuse her and told her she needed to gain weight to have the perfect body, the suit states.
Later on, when news report of Magdaleno’s alleged abuse surfaced, some students at Nipomo High harassed the victim, saying that she enjoyed being touched, according to the lawsuit.
The suit alleges a teacher and counselor at Nipomo High were informed about the abuse by other students but took no action.
Allred’s lawsuit accuses the defendants of sexual battery, sexual harassment, battery, assault and negligent supervision and training. The victim is seeking unspecified damages.
Magdaleno, who founded the girls wrestling team at Nipomo High, resigned as its coach last year. It is unclear if he is still on administrative leave from his teaching position. When placed on leave, he was teaching psychology and government.