The parents of a 13-year-old boy who allegedly was molested by a Goodyear elementary school teacher have sued the school district involved in the case, claiming it failed to act on warnings that could’ve stopped the inappropriate relationship.
The lawsuit was filed Thursday in Maricopa County Superior Court.
Former Las Brisas Academy teacher Brittany Zamora, 28, was indicted last March on multiple charges related to the case, including sexual conduct with a minor, child molestation, furnishing obscene material to a minor, and public indecency. She been out of jail on a $250,000 bond.
Zamora performed oral sex on the boy and engaged in intercourse with him, according to police. She also allegedly sent the boy explicit text messages and nude photos.
Zamora pleaded not guilty to the charges. A trial date for the case has been postponed multiple times, and attorneys who represent the alleged victim's family say it is likely to be delayed again in March.
"Everyone takes their children to school, and they can’t imagine that such a thing would happen at school," said Michael Medina, an attorney with the firm Davis Miles McGuire Gardner, who filed the lawsuit. "The school district had an opportunity to prevent this from happening."
In their complaint, the alleged victim's family notes that Las Brisas principal Timothy Dickey admitted to police that he received written statements on February 7 from three students raising issues between Zamora and the boy. He received the statements before the alleged sexual encounters, the lawsuit says.
Dickey told police that on February 8, he interviewed students who told him Zamora and the boy were in a relationship. Shortly after the interviews, Zamora went to Dickey's office "frantic and crying," police wrote.
The lawsuit claims the school district acted negligently by failing to report Zamora to the police after the written reports and interviews with students.
Neither Dickey nor a representative for the Liberty Elementary School District could be reached for comment.
The lawsuit claims that the district failed to monitor Class Craft, a classroom communication platform that Zamora allegedly used to exchange explicit text messages with the boy. The child told police that his relationship with Zamora began on Class Craft.
The lawsuit also names Zamora's husband, Daniel Zamora, as a defendant, claiming he "was personally aware or should have been aware" of the alleged relationship between his wife and the boy, but failed to report it to authorities. Daniel Zamora called the parents of the alleged victims urging them not to go to the police, the lawsuit states.
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In March, the boy's stepmother intercepted text messages between their child and Zamora through a parental control app called Sentry, according to police records. After they saw the messages, the parents spoke with the child, who told them that Zamora had molested him. The parents notified Dickey later that night, who reported the allegation to a school resource officer.
In a notice of claim filed in August, the parents asked for $2.5 million to settle the case, with $2 million for the boy and $250,000 for each parent. Medina, the attorney, said they have not had any discussions with the district since the claim was filed.
The boy whom Zamora allegedly molested has undergone therapy as a result of his relationship with his teacher, Medina said.
In August, attorneys told Phoenix New Times that the family sought to change school districts to protect their child's anonymity. "If they haven’t moved, they are still trying to move," Medina said.