(BCN) — Three former students of Miramonte High School in Orinda filed a lawsuit this week against the school and the Acalanes Union High School District, alleging both were negligent in allowing a former teacher to continue teaching after officials knew he was sexually abusing them.
Mark Christopher Litton was arrested and charged on Sept. 14, 2009, in Contra Costa County with two counts of statutory rape, two counts of forcible acts of sexual penetration of a minor, and one count of oral copulation with a minor, according to the complaint.
The suit was filed Tuesday in Contra Costa County Superior Court.
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County records show Litton pleaded no contest to two counts of sexual penetration of a person under 18, oral copulation of minor under age 18, and unlawful sexual intercourse. He was sentenced to two years in state prison and paid fines and restitution, though records are unclear as to how much.
The lawsuit says Litton wasn’t required to register as a sex offender, which may have been part of a plea deal.
The plaintiffs in the suit aren’t named. They were Miramonte students between 2007 and 2009. Litton was an English teacher who, according to the complaint, sexually groomed the students by “selecting vulnerable girls who were passionate about writing, reading or poetry; complimenting them and showering them with attention aimed at making them feel unique, smart and seen.”
He was accused of giving them sexually suggestive literature, emailing them personal messages, leaving notes on one student’s car, and keeping them after school to isolate them.
The suit says Litton’s sexual assault of plaintiff No. 1, who was 17, occurred in 2007, when the teacher was 31. It says the misconduct was reported to “several school personnel” during the summer of 2008. It also says the sexual abuse of plaintiff No. 2, who was 16, began that fall.
The suit alleges the first plaintiff suffered physical and psychological injuries and lost income when her conditions caused her to turn down employment opportunities to teach an afternoon class after graduation.
Plaintiff No. 2 said her grades suffered during Litton’s “sexual grooming” and “several colleges” revoked her acceptance.
The third plaintiff reported similar treatment from Litton and his “continuing sexual molestation” continued after she graduated.
Messages left for the Acalanes Union School District Thursday morning weren’t returned.
The former students are suing for “an amount to be determined at trial.”