SAN JOSE (CBS SF) -- A one-time student at San Jose's Valley Christian High on Tuesday announced a lawsuit against her former basketball coach and the school itself over sexual abuse that took place over 15 years ago.
Gregory Marshall, who served at the school's basketball coach, was arrested following an investigation into his time teaching at Valley Christian High School in 2004 and 2005. Police said Marshall sexually assaulted two victims, who were both members of the basketball team he coached, in his classroom.
Marshall was a track and basketball coach at Valley High when the allegations surfaced. A Valley High spokesperson said it was school staff who notified police of the alleged sexual assault in late 2006.
At the time, school officials said they knew of only one victim and sent parents a letter explaining Marshall had been put on paid leave pending the investigation. However, due of lack of evidence, that case went nowhere.
At the virtual press conference Tuesday morning, two now-adult victims spoke about their sexual abuse by Marshall. The suit is being filed by abuse victim Allison Brown against Marshall and the school. But fellow victim Tracey Walker, who said her abuse by the coach started when she was only 13, also appeared at the press conference, giving a statement on her experience in solidarity with Brown.
Both women said they were groomed by Marshall for sexual exploitation and abuse as star players on the girls basketball team he was coaching. The suit alleges that Marshall began sexually abusing players on his varsity girls' basketball team shortly after he started working at Valley Christian during the 2001-2002 school year.
A press release detailing the lawsuit states that Brown was Marshall's second victim, starting in the 2003-2004 school year. The release said Brown first came forward in 2018 as a result of finding courage from the gymnasts in
the Larry Nassar case.
Brown's suit also named the school as a defendant with the aim of forcing Valley Christian High to make policy changes to prevent future abuse against students.
"I'm filing this lawsuit because Valley Christian High did nothing to protect me and other students from the predatory behavior of Greg Marshall," said Brown. "Greg Marshall boldly committed countless sexual assaults on me while I was a student."
The suit alleges that Marshall sexually abused Brown multiple times a week on school grounds, including in the classroom, the weight room, and storage closets.
The press release regarding the suit additionally states that the school allowed Marshall to access school grounds and train students on campus despite the allegations in 2006 in part because "Marshall's children were bringing glory to Valley Christian through their exploits as star athletes."
Brown is being represented by the law firm of Corsiglia, McMahon & Allard in the suit.
Walker is not a plaintiff in the lawsuit, having previously reached a settlement regarding her abuse claims.
According to the lawsuit, Valley Christian "ignored Marshall's repeated grooming behavior, which included excessive one-on-one time with female students during school hours, especially during lunch, transporting them alone to and from school, and inappropriate touching."
The suit states that on at least one occasion, Marshall was seen in an elevator on school grounds with his first known victim alone in a compromising position by the VCHS athletic director and/or other Valley Christian employees.
Marshall was arrested again nearly two years ago in January of 2019 in connection with two dozen felony counts for allegedly sexually assaulting teens at Valley Christian. At the time, he was still working as a coach at Branham High School in San Jose.
At the time of his arrest, San Jose police said the more than decades-old investigation was reopened when a second alleged victim came forward in the spring of 2018.
Marshall is facing 12 counts of sexual penetration with a minor and 12 counts of oral copulation with a minor, all felonies. He is still awaiting trial on those charges.
KPIX 5 reached out to Valley Christian High School for a statement and received a response from school officials early Tuesday evening.
"VCS took swift and immediate action when first informed in December 2006 of
misconduct allegations involving this former employee. Immediately, VCS notified the San Jose Police Department and our school community," the statement read in part. "We encouraged anyone with possible information to contact the San Jose Police Department. At the same time, the employee was placed on leave, and his employment contract was not renewed. These
prompt actions directly contradict any claim that VCS ignored or sought to cover up any report of alleged sexual misconduct."
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