Former Clovis Student Sues Teacher, District for Alleged Abuse

(Clovis Roundup Photo)

A Fresno man is suing a former Clovis elementary school teacher for allegedly sexually assaulting him as a sixth-grader nearly 30 years ago.

Identified as John Doe in the civil lawsuit, the alleged victim is seeking damages for abuse suffered by Stacey Aprile, his sixth-grade teacher, while he was a student at Red Bank Elementary.

According to the lawsuit, the Clovis Unified School District (CUSD) is also a defendant for failing to take disciplinary action against Aprile, despite numerous complaints from parents.

John Doe’s alleged abuse began during the 1993-94 school year when he was 12 years old and continued until he was 17 years old in high school, the lawsuit states.

At the time, Aprile was 22 years old.

In California, an alleged victim of childhood sexual abuse is allowed to sue their alleged abuser. Victims must file a lawsuit by age 40 or within five years after realizing they were abused during childhood.

John Doe is currently 39 years old.

He believed that Aprile was a friend who was teaching him about relationships and sex.

Throughout what John Doe thought to be a friendship, Aprile allegedly performed numerous sexual acts on him during multiple encounters.

These encounters allegedly happened in Aprile’s house, his parent’s apartment and other locations, all while unsupervised.

The lawsuit states that one particular incident allegedly took place during a school-sponsored trip to Camp Sonora, where Aprile gave him a role in a talent show where he was required to strip down into his boxers.

On the same trip, she also had a sexual encounter with him in a van parked nearby after curfew.

It wasn’t until 2006 when he realized he was sexually abused and groomed as a child. He then proceeded to file a complaint with the Clovis Police Department (CPD).

CPD investigated the case, and it was during this investigation, Aprile admitted to engaging in improper conduct with the plaintiff. She admitted to kissing John Doe on the lips and discussing topics of sexual nature, which were included in letters sent between the two.

Aprile also told police that allegations against her regarding childhood sexual assault and abuse might be documented in letters she wrote to John Doe.

Aprile is currently a part-time faculty member in the liberal arts department at California State University, Stanislaus in Turlock.

When asked about allegations toward Aprile, a Stanislaus State spokesperson said, “The University does not comment on personnel matters.”

CUSD is included in the lawsuit because it is felt they are liable for injuries to John Doe caused by the acts, omissions, and breach of child care duty by one of its employees, Aprile.

Kelly Avants, a spokesperson for CUSD, says that the district takes the allegations against a former employee very seriously.

“The district takes any allegations of inappropriate behavior toward a student seriously, and always acts quickly to involve experts from our law enforcement partners to investigate,” Avants said.

Avants says that CUSD has not had an opportunity to examine the lawsuit’s detail, as they have not been served with the suit.

However, Avants says that CUSD cooperated with a prior law enforcement investigation relating to this matter.

According to the lawsuit, CUSD failed to protect John Doe by ignoring clear and obvious signs that he was being groomed and sexually assaulted by Aprile.

Parents of other students in the class complained to CUSD administrators and supervisory employees about Aprile socializing with students after school hours.

The complaints state Aprile was meeting children off school grounds, discussing relationship advice with students about members of the opposite sex and talking to students on the phone about their personal lives.

These complaints were made and received by CUSD before John Doe was allegedly sexually assaulted by Aprile, but she was neither questioned nor investigated, the lawsuit states.

According to the lawsuit, John Doe has allegedly suffered extreme and severe injuries and emotional distress due to Aprile’s alleged sexual abuse.

John Doe also requested that the trial occurs in front of a jury.

The Clovis Roundup reached out to Aprile multiple times, but she could not be reached.

Anthony De Leon is a journalist who started his career in 2017, covering sports for the Fresno City College Rampage, earning his Associate Degree in the process. He then moved on to Fresno State, working for The Collegian serving as Sports Editor, Managing Editor and Editor-in-Chief. He earned his Bachelor’s Degree in print journalism. In August, he will begin attending Reynold’s School of Journalism Master’s program at the University of Nevada, Reno.