As detectives continue their investigation into a number of sexual assault allegations made against an LAUSD trainer arrested back in September, one victim has come forward to detail her harrowing experience.
At a press conference Tuesday, hosted by The Dominguez Firm who are representing the girl, she spoke about the moments she was assaulted by Richard Turner, a Los Angeles Unified School District trainer.
Turnerafter Los Angeles Police Department officers received a report that alleged Turner inappropriately touched an underage boy at Birmingham Community Charter High School in Van Nuys.
As their investigation continued, detectives learned that Turner was also accused of touching a different underage student at Van Nuys High School five years ago. In the time since, they have learned of at least 10 victims who claim to have been abused by Turner dating back to 2017.
He now faces more than 15 counts, including forcible rape, forcible penetration with a foreign object and sexual penetration of an unconscious person.
The girl, who spoke under assurance that her voice would be altered and her face blurred, detailed the moments that Turner assaulted her.
She spoke of a time nearly a month ago when she had suffered ankle, leg and back injuries while playing volleyball, forcing her to seek treatment from the school's training department.
"The treatment for both of them consisted of massage," she said. "During those massages, he would make inappropriate comments like, 'Your skin looks beautiful today,' or stuff like that which got me a little bit uncomfortable."
As the massage continued, the girl knew she "needed to get out of there - one way or another," so she pretended to receive a phone call from her father. She acted as if he had arrived to pick her up, but Turner was unfazed.
"He told me, 'Give me a few more minutes, let me finish the treatment.' Which made him somehow still continue doing whatever he was doing and touch me inappropriately and after a little bit I told him, 'I have to go, I have to go,' and I left."
She's speaking out so that other victims feel comfortable coming forward to tell their stories as well. She also hopes that by telling her story, changes will be made so the same thing doesn't happen to anyone else.
"I feel like my school and everyone around me kind of failed me," she said. "In some ways I do feel betrayed and I don't know if I will ever feel safe with another trainer or knowing that I have to get treatment, because I still have to get treatment for my ankle."
Her attorney, Juan Dominguez, is looking for some sort of accountability from school officials.
"When that trust is broken, they must be held accountable," he said at the press conference. "This should not happen to our kids in school, it's unacceptable."
Turner posted bail and was released on Sept. 22, but was arrested later that same day after investigators located additional victims. His bail is set at $750,000.
Investigators are still seeking additional victims in this case, and are urging anyone with additional information to contact them at (818) 374-5415.
When approached for a statement on Turner, BCCHS Principal Ari Bennett said:
"Richard Turner's alleged conduct is reprehensible and totally contrary to Birmingham Community Charter High School's mission, values and the way we run our school. Our deepest sympathies go out to the student and student's family who have been impacted by this. As always, our focus is on providing our students with a safe learning environment and the academic and developmental support they need to be successful students at Birmingham and beyond.
Birmingham is cooperating with law enforcement during the course of its investigation. Given privacy and other concerns we are not able to make any further comment at the present time, including about pending litigation."
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