San Jose School District sued over coach who took illicit photos of athletes

The families of two girls who were allegedly secretly photographed by the former track and field coach at Willow Glen Middle School (San Jose, Calif.) filed a lawsuit against the school district and coach, claiming that their trauma could have been avoided if the district had been more vigilant.

As reported by the San Jose Mercury News, the coach named in the suit is former Willow Glen coach Clifford Pappadakis, who already pleaded no contest to charges of possessing child pornography and seven counts of molesting or annoying a child involving a total of five girls in August, per the Mercury News.

Pappadakis — whose twin brother Clinton Pappadakis has also been charged with possession of child pornography — is currently serving eight months home detention and three years probation on the charges, a period which ends this week. He will also be forced to register as a sex offender following his release.

Pappadakis originally fell into trouble because he was caught focusing on the rear end of a high school sophomore wearing a bikini by a parent, who reported the coach’s actions to the San Jose school district. After a year-long investigation, Pappadakis was fired and charged.

Now two of his victims claim that their trauma could have been avoided if the school district had been more vigilant about Pappadakis’ freedom to serve as a coach and school photographer earlier.

Here’s more to that end, per the Mercury News:

“… But the police report also said the principal had recalled ‘a similar circumstance’ five months earlier in which Pappadakis ‘was said to have taken an unusual amount of photos at events and of cheerleaders’ and that the principal simply ‘told him to stop taking pictures.’

In March 2018, the district’s spokesman at the time, Peter Allen, said Slayton ‘approached Mr. Pappadakis in April 2017 because he noticed him taking a lot of photos at school events and asked him to stop.’ Allen added that ‘at that time, the principal had no reason to suspect any nefarious intent’ and the district had no record of complaints about him before September 2017.”

The two plaintiffs — both of whom claim to have suffered extensive emotional distress — were allegedly recruited to the Willow Glen track and field team by Pappadakis himself and quickly became favorite subjects of his extensive in practice photography. Then, one of the girls claims to have seen Pappadakis spying on her from a set of bushes while he was on leave for his prior incidents, leading her to collapse during her race and later file a restraining order against the coach.

Now, both girls are seeking financial restitution from Pappadakis and the school district itself. Any remuneration may not ease the emotional distress felt by the teens, but it would signal additional justice being made in response to the disturbing case against Pappadakis.

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