Earlier this week, a Redlands, California high school teacher was arrested on charges of unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor two weeks after she gave birth to a baby law enforcement officers believe was fathered by a student. Twenty eight year old Laura Elizabeth Whitehurst was taken into custody at her home in Redlands on Monday and was released on $25,000 bail shortly after.
According to the Redlands Police Department, Whitehurst was a 10th grade English teacher at Citrus Valley High School, where she served as an adviser to the 17-year-old boy who allegedly fathered her child. Reports state that a sexual relationship between the two began last summer, when the boy was 16, and continued for nearly a year. Authorities say it began with contact outside of school and progressively evolved into a physical sexual relationship.
The mother of the victim had reported the relationship and the possibility that the baby might the teen victim’s to school administrators, who notified local law enforcement agencies and placed Whitehurst on leave. While the school district declined to comment on the pending investigation, the Redlands Unified School District Assistant Superintendent issued a statement stating that school officials responded promptly to the allegations.
On June 18, Whitehurst gave birth to a child that officers believe was fathered by the boy. She did not hide or deny the pregnancy, but gave no revelations as to who the father was. The baby remains in Whitehurst’s custody and she is not married. As Redlands police have revealed that they have interviewed another possible victim, local law enforcement agencies are encouraging other potential victims, as well as anyone who may have more information about the case, to step forward.
A String of Southern California Sexual Abuse Cases
As covered by our firm’s law blog, there has been a string of sexual abuse arrests in local area schools this year, two of which also occurred in the Inland Empire. Just last month, a 31-year old teacher at Centennial High School in Corona was arrested on suspicion of unlawful sex with a student on school grounds.
Although the past few months have seen several new arrests and sexual abuse cases, the fact remains that sexual abuse – especially sexual abuse in public schools – largely goes unreported. By working with experienced, well-connected, and compassionate California sexual abuse attorneys, victim can gain the confidential support and representation needed to come forward, achieve justice, and play a role in preventing offenders from victimizing other students. When it can be shown that teachers or school administrators failed to uphold their duty to keep students safe from these types of incidents, victims may also be able to pursue monetary compensation from the school district for their damages. Learn more about sexual abuse in schools and how The Senators (Ret.) Firm, LLP can help you understand your rights and available legal options.