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Los Gatos School Teacher Convicted Of Molesting Students Sued By Victim's Family

SAN JOSE (CBS SF) -- A former Los Gatos elementary school teacher and convicted child molester has been sued along with the school district by one of his victim's parents.

Joseph Brian Houg, a former fifth-grade teacher and theater director at Blossom Hill Elementary School, pleaded no contest in August to 10 felony counts of child molestation and three misdemeanor counts of annoying and molesting a child. On Tuesday, lawyers for one of the victim's parents announced a lawsuit against the 51-year-old Houg and the Los Gatos Unified School District.

Joseph Houg
Joseph Brian Houg (Alameda County Sheriff's Office)

According to the complaint, the school district's lack of oversight allowed Houg to sexually abuse the victim in January of 2020, and that the school district did not discipline or reprimand Houg after a mother reported Houg's bullying of her son during a time he was grooming another student for sexual abuse.

"A mother of a fifth grader reported Houg's bullying to the principal during the 2003-2004 school year and she was ignored," said attorney Robert Allard in a prepared statement. "The mother followed through, reporting Houg to the school superintendent and a school board member but they didn't discipline or reprimand him – they didn't even bother documenting her concerns. Houg, meanwhile, was grooming a third grader who was interested in musical theater."

The lawsuit seeks general and punitive damages, as well as injunctive relief against the district to include training programs for teachers and students on behavior that should be reported, as well as implementing procedures for documenting teacher misconduct.

The Santa Clara County Sheriff's Office began investigating Houg in May 2020 two theater students complained that Houg encouraged them to engage in inappropriate conduct during Zoom calls. The investigation other incidents as far back as 2003 and involving victims as young as 8 years old.

Investigators also found videos and images of children changing their clothes and in their underwear on electronic devices at Houg's home. He was arrested in September of 2020.

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