LOS GATOS, Calif. (KRON) – A former fifth-grade teacher in Los Gatos is being sued for sexually abusing a 10-year-old boy, according to a lawsuit.
The boy’s parents are suing both the former teacher, Joseph Brian Houg, and the Los Gatos Union School District — In the lawsuit, the boy is referred to as John Doe.
Houg used to work at Blossom Hill Elementary School as a teacher and theater director.
In the last month, he pled ‘no contest to 10 felony counts of child molestation and three misdemeanor counts of annoying and molesting a child.’
This means he agrees to accept being convicted of crimes against 10 boys, including John Doe, at the elementary school.
According to the lawsuit, Houg committed crimes against some students who were in theater productions at school.
Attorney Robert Allard says John Doe, who was also in theater, trusted Houg prior to the molestation incident.
“In January 2020, my client was alone in a dressing room with Houg, who played with his genitals while pretending to tuck in his shirt. The school’s lack of oversight permitted Houg to isolate and abuse my client,” attorney Robert Allard said.
Officials say that multiple victims reported that Houg bullied, verbally abused, and ‘shirt tucked’ them. The victims were two girls and multiple boys.
In 1999, it is believed that Houg started teaching at the school, and according to the lawsuit, the harassment started a few years later.
“A mother of a fifth-grader reported Houg’s bullying to the principal during the 2003-2004 school year and she was ignored,” Mr. Allard said. “The mother followed through, reporting Houg to the school superintendent and a school board member but they didn’t discipline or reprimand him – they didn’t even bother documenting her concerns. Houg, meanwhile, was grooming a third-grader who was interested in musical theater.”
Officials say that pedophiles use ‘grooming’ as a way to lure victims.
The lawsuit demands that the school district create policies to better protect children from pedophiles and make sure there is transparency and accountability.
“My client’s parents believe it’s imperative that current and future students be protected,” Mr. Allard said. “Clearly, the school district has a lot of work to do to make sure this doesn’t happen again.”
During the spring of 2020 over Zoom, Houg reportedly told two 13-year-old students to ‘engage in inappropriate conduct.’
The students reported Houg and he was arrested in September later that year.
After he is sentenced in November, Houg could face 35 years in prison.