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New Claim Alleges Yuba City Teacher’s Misconduct has Been Happening for Decades

YUBA CITY -- Four newly filed pages in a claim for damages detail what one lawyer says is the latest instance of inappropriate sexual conduct with a student by Yuba City High School teacher Jim Whiteaker.

The pages point to a two-decade long pattern of abuse and a district failing to act, according to Attorney Mike Trezza.

"He simply walked up behind this... came up from behind this girl and grabbed her rear end and she was stunned and turned," Trezza said. "He's not her teacher, she was in an another class."

That, along with Whiteaker bumping her body with his, is what Trezza's 14-year-old client says happened to her on campus while she was talking to a friend in a physical education class.

Whiteaker's attorney and the Yuba City Unified School District maintain the incident happened while the 52-year-old was trying to break up a fight, but Trezza says "that's just flat out false."

The claim against Whiteaker says there was another teacher who let the teenager down.

"There was a comment made something to the effect that this teacher, referring to Mr. Whiteaker, that men his age do things like this, which was just bizarre to my client," Trezza said.

Stunned again, the freshman girl went to the office to report the alleged grab, triggering Whiteaker's removal from campus three days later and a recommendation to terminate him two weeks after the alleged misconduct.

Trezza said the applause that followed the YCUSD's first steps to fire Whiteaker were a sign of a problem that has been ignored since 1998, the first time Whiteaker was reported for touching a young, female student inappropriately.

"Twenty years later, so exactly what action was taken?" Trezza said. "And it doesn't appear that there was any. And if there was any it wasn't adequate, because the misconduct has continued."

He has never been arrested or charged based on any allegation.

Aside from being a long-time teacher and coach, Whiteaker is also a Sutter County Supervisor, serves as chairman of the Sutter County Children and Families commission and is the son of man who was Sutter County's sheriff for 19 years.

Those deep connections have made many of his accusers wonder why their complaints stalled or disappeared.

"That's another thing that is disconcerting and that goes to this whole, you know, good old boy network in town that's operating. And that's what I'm trying to get to the bottom of," Trezza said.

A mention of the alleged incident by another teacher the day after led to his 14-year-old client being targeted by other students and blamed for Whiteaker no longer being at Yuba City High School. Distraught, and now feeling unsafe on campus, she's opted for homeschooling.

What she claims to have endured, paired with the possible loss of a normal high school experience for the next few years, have resulted in a claim for a minimum of $500,000.

Once he learned of the action against the district based on his client's alleged behavior, Whiteaker's attorney, Roberto Marquez, commented via statement:

"Based on what I know at this time NONE of those allegations will be substantiated. Further the timing of claim is odd. It only needs to be filed within six months of the incident and I think it's being filed to take advantage of the media frenzy. They want to try this case in the court of public opinion, but I confidently predict in a court of law the allegations will show to be unsubstantiated rumor!"

Doreen Osumi, superintendent of the YCUSD, told Fox40, "We will follow the legal process for reviewing the claim and determine what actions are appropriate."