PALO ALTO (KRON) – A lawsuit has been filed against a music school in Palo Alto for knowing about an inappropriate relationship between a teacher, who was a known drug addict with sexual perversion tendencies, and a teenager in 2017.
It’s been two years since a former teacher at the after-school program pleaded guilty to sexually abusing a teenage student.
One parent says after the arrest in of John Patrick Root in 2018, the Palo Alto location essentially cleaned house.
There is now a new owner and virtually all new staff.
The lawsuit filed on behalf of the 14-year-old victim claims the former owners did not tell police about the abuse and failed to protect its students.
San Jose attorney Mark Boskovich says he and his fellow attorneys believe adequate measures were not in place at School of Rock to keep his 14-year-old client safe.
“What a simple background search would have done was reveal that this person wasn’t qualified to supervise children one on one,” Boskovich said.
The suit alleges the former franchise owner should have known that Root was an illicit drug user and was ‘intimately engaged in pornography.’
“You have a very big brand name in School of Rock. It has a good reputation, but this brand is allowing those who are not exactly qualified to operate schools, where teachers are on one on one situations with kids,” Boskovich said.
Some parents are comfortable with the changes the franchise has made since Root’s arrest, which includes security cameras in the lesson rooms.
But one says these days, it’s also up to the parents to ensure their children’s safety.
“I always am concerned. I don’t think anyone’s incident makes me more concerned. I think as a parent you need to be careful. Perhaps if you don’t feel comfortable, just sit in the class,” Bing Rui said.
The School of Rock Corporation sent a statement:
“Student safety is our first priority and when we were made aware by our Palo Alto franchises that their employee breached our code of conduct and put a child at risk, we worked closely with law enforcement to investigate. The franchise owners of the Palo Alto location at the time of the incident are no longer part of our system.”
The attorneys say this is the first lawsuit against the School of Rock involving this type of situation.
They’ve been in conversation with another attorney in Texas who is involved in litigation too.
Root, now a registered sex offender, served time at Santa Clara County Jail for one year and is now living in San Jose.