Petition calls for firing of LAUSD attorney in teen sex case
Mike Szymanski | October 26, 2015
A petition is calling for the firing (again) of W. Keith Wyatt, An LA Unified lawyer who argued in court that a 14-year-old girl was partly responsible for her own sexual abuse at the hands of her teacher at Edison Middle School.
The petition says: “Tell LAUSD: Fire the victim-blaming lawyer and support survivors.”
The petition is on UltraViolet.org but it does not indicate the name of the originator, the number of people who have signed, what happens with the petition when somebody decides the campaign has run its course or who that somebody is. Efforts to reach UltraViolet were unsuccessful.
The school board is scheduled to discuss the case, S.M. v. Los Angeles Unified School District, in closed session tomorrow morning. A decision to dismiss Wyatt would, presumably, be announced publicly at the end of the meeting.
Today, a victim’s rights attorney, Vince Finaldi, criticized LAUSD’s chief counsel, David Holmquist, saying, “Parents should demand that the School Board replace Mr. Holmquist with someone who will aggressively remove predators from our schools rather than blaming the children they victimize.”
Meanwhile, over the weekend, attorneys for the Los Angeles Roman Catholic Archdiocese dropped its support for LAUSD in the case. The church’s support drew criticism from attorneys representing sexual abuse victims.
Attorney John Manly, a leading advocate for child sex abuse victims, said: “I find it disturbing that the Los Angeles Archdiocese objects to the higher standard of protection for child sex abuse victims established by the court of appeals … the Archbishop will make children throughout California more vulnerable to sexual abuse by priests, teachers, scoutmasters and other adults who are in a position to prey upon them.”
The online petition reads: “A 14-year-old girl in Los Angeles was raped by her teacher. Then the L.A. School District blamed her for it. The teacher abused his authority, pressured an 8th grader, and raped her. But Keith Wyatt, the lawyer for the school district, argued in court that the rape was her fault. Then, he went on the radio to blame her in the media, too.”
A similar petition on Change.org last year got 67 signatures and fell short of the 100 they were looking for when it launched.
* Added quotes from victim’s rights attorneys released today.