Family of Loyd victim files claim against MHUSD

John Loyd

A complaint filed by attorneys for one of John Loyd’s child victims alleges the former Paradise Valley Elementary School teacher was allowed by school district and campus staff to violate education laws that are designed to keep children safe.
The family of an 11-year-old victim of Loyd’s, identified only as “Jane Doe,” filed a government claim this week with the Morgan Hill Unified School District in order to protect the girl’s right to sue the district over the sexual abuse she suffered in Loyd’s classroom, according to a statement from the law firm of Corciglia McMahon and Allard. Attorneys Robert Allard and Lauren Cerri filed the claim on behalf of the victim.
Loyd, a 53-year-old Hollister resident, pleaded guilty Aug. 3 at the Morgan Hill Courthouse to four counts of lewd and lascivious conduct toward a child. He was arrested by Morgan Hill police October 2014 after one of his students told her parents and police that the teacher made inappropriate contact with her in the classroom.
In the weeks after his arrest, more victims came forward to report similar contact Loyd made with them in the classroom. The four counts to which he pleaded guilty are related to four different female students.
Loyd was a fifth-grade teacher when the first allegations surfaced. He was terminated by MHUSD Oct. 7, and has remained in custody since then.
The claim filed this week by Allard alleges that Loyd “molested and inappropriately touched” the 11-year-old victim during the 2013-14 school year, and district officials disregarded a series of parent complaints about the teacher’s conduct.
“A preliminary investigation reveals that school officials provided Loyd with the opportunity to molest several students even though the school administration had received multiple complaints from parents that Loyd had a tendency to ‘play favorites’ with some female students,” reads the statement from Ed Vasquez, spokesman for Allard.
Furthermore, Loyd was allegedly directed by his supervisor to retain children in his classroom during lunch and recess periods, which is a violation of state education codes that mandate all students must be out of the classroom during these times, Vasquez’ statement added.
Loyd was able to “escape detection” because he had covered the windows to his classroom with paper, Vasquez said.
Loyd was the faculty advisor for the school’s student newspaper program while he taught at Paradise Valley.
“The fact that this child molester, posing as a teacher, was allowed to sexually abuse children behind a locked door and blocked windows during a time when the children were required by law to be out of the classroom is highly concerning and shows that we have a long way to go to train and educate school administrators in order to ensure that students are safe from sex offenders when they attend school,” Allard said.
Loyd taught at MHUSD since 2000. He began teaching in the district at Nordstrom Elementary School, and was transferred to Paradise Valley on LaCrosse Drive in south Morgan Hill in 2008.
The incidents to which he pleaded guilty took place on four separate occasions from late 2012 to October 2014, according to court documents. Loyd will be formally sentenced Sept. 21. He has agreed to serve a 40-year prison sentence. If his case had gone to trial, he could have faced a maximum penalty of life in prison.
Allard added that Loyd’s case echoes that of an Evergreen Elementary School District teacher that he tried earlier this year, the attorney said. In the Evergreen case, former third-grade teacher Craig Chandler was allowed to keep students in a locked classroom during recess and lunch while he sexually abused them, “with blind approval of his superiors.”
The Evergreen district ultimately settled the civil case with four of Chandler’s victims, for $15 million, Allard said. Chandler is serving 75 years to life in prison after being convicted of molesting five students in the 2013 incidents.
“This Paradise Valley Elementary School case illustrates that much more needs to be done to educate and train school administrators as to the severe dangers presented by pedophiles who want to get access to our children,” Allard said.
MHUSD Superintendent Steve Betando did not immediately return phone calls requesting comment.
Allard said if the school district denies the government claim, the victim will likely proceed by filing a lawsuit in Santa Clara County Superior Court.