Amended sexual abuse lawsuit filed against Los Gatos Union School District

Student who was brutally raped by Los Gatos elementary school teacher joins lawsuit

A horrific story of sexual abuse is detailed in an amended lawsuit against the Los Gatos Union School District and former fifth grade teacher Joseph Brian Houg.

The amended lawsuit, Case No. 21CV388845, was filed against the school district and Houg in Santa Clara County Superior Court by San Jose-based Cerri, Boskovich and Allard.

The initial lawsuit was filed in September 2021 on behalf of the anonymous John Doe. It was recently revised to include information about Houg’s crimes against John Doe 2, who was 10 and 11 years old at the time of Houg’s sexual assaults against him.

Doe 2 is now 23 years old and also chooses to remain anonymous.

Doe 2 was a Blossom Hill fifth grader when Houg began instructing him to stay after school under the pretense of being “disciplined.” This went on for approximately four days a week during the 2008-2009 school year, when Houg would be alone in his classroom with Doe 2.

The classroom door was often locked, the lawsuit says.

At first, Houg physically abused Doe 2 by spanking him; later, Houg’s behavior escalated and he began manipulating the child’s genitals.

But things got worse and Houg began forcing Doe 2 to orally copulate him.

“John Doe 2 was so ashamed and disgusted by the abuse that he took a cup of scalding hot water and purposely poured it onto his penis in an attempt to genitally mutilate himself,” the lawsuit says.

As a result, Doe 2 had to be taken to the emergency room, missing two weeks of school.

“What this teacher did to this poor kid is sheer evil,” attorney Robert Allard said. “And it should never have happened – during the 2003-2004 school year, a mother alerted the principal and the school district that Houg was humiliating and bullying students but they ignored her complaints. This allowed Houg to continue his predatory behavior for years to come.”

Doe 2 says Houg also choked him, sometimes to the point where he urinated and “thought he was going to die.”

“The principal and school district are supposed to supervise  their teachers and other staff member,” Mr. Allard said. “John Doe 2 deserved to be protected. Instead, Houg used his position of authority and trust to wreck my client’s life and the school district was complicit in allowing that to happen.”

In August 2020, Houg was convicted of molesting 10 boys at Blossom Hill Elementary School. He faces up to 35 years in prison when he’s sentenced on Nov. 29.

In Doe 2’s case, Houg was convicted of one felony count of oral copulation/penetration with a child under 10 years old or younger, and multiple counts of lewd and lascivious acts on a child by force, violence, duress, menace or fear.

The lawsuit seeks unspecified monetary damages from the school district and calls for teachers, students and parents to receive training about the “red flags” that sexual predators use to groom victims to accept their criminal advances.

It also calls for the school district to adopt an open-door policy when a child is alone in a room with an educator unless it is for counseling.

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