Allegations of sexual abuse by a teacher against an underage student led to a civil lawsuit filed Friday against a prominent South Bay high school.
The lawsuit claims a teacher at Presentation High sexually molested a 15-year-old girl. In addition, the lawsuit alleges the school and its principal tried to cover it up.
Friday's legal action is the latest in a series of complaints and accusations aimed at the school first made public by NBC Bay Area's Investigative Unit.
The Investigative Unit revealed many similar accusations by former students from Presentation High, but Friday's case represents the first lawsuit. The suit utilizes a law that say, in essence, damage done by alleged child sex abuse supersedes any statute of limitation.
"Linda" is the mother of a former student NBC Bay Area is not naming who filed a sexual abuse lawsuit against Presentation High, its former principal Mary Miller, and former theater director Jeffrey Hicks.
The case, documented in April by the NBC Bay Area Investigative Unit, centers around allegation that in 2003 Hicks was grooming a 15-year-old sophomore with extra attention, leading to molestation and inappropriate touching.
On Friday, her attorney, Kenneth Turek, said the lawsuit targets Hicks for alleged abuse, but the school and Miller for the "cover up."
Linda described a campaign by school officials to scare the family about going public in court and said Hicks used emotional blackmail and threats.
"If she left him and reported him, he was either going to 'take his own life' or he was going to make 'damn sure' that she was arrested,' Linda said.
The case echoed similar complaints by two other former students from 1990, but the statute of limitations prevented a lawsuit.
Turek says, now, a new law in 2003 allows possible victims to go forward because they have "suppressed" memories of impact.
"I think that she would like this to stand for prevention and protection of children," Turek said.
In a statement to NBC Bay Area, Presentation High said it has not seen the lawsuit so cannot comment on the specific allegations, but welcomes the chance to present its side of the story in a courtroom. The school also adds Presentation High is no place for abuse and is proud of its efforts to educate and protect students.
The school has 30 days to file its response to the court.