Ex-LAUSD teacher had pattern of raping, marrying students: attorney

A lawsuit has been filed against the Los Angeles Unified School District and Bell High School accusing a former teacher of sexually abusing at least five girls. 

The suspect, Jeffrey Scott Jones of Huntington Beach, was hired by LAUSD in the mid-to-late 1980s to teach English at Bell High School. Jones taught for 27 years at Bell High School in Bell and Gahr High School in Cerritos.

"During this time, Jones cultivated a pattern of marrying underage students, taking their virginity, finding a new student, and marrying them as soon as he was divorced," according to the attorney of the three survivors named in the lawsuit. 

Jones is accused of grooming and sexually abusing five girls - marrying three of them - from 1986 to 2012. 

The lawsuit states Jones targeted students "vulnerable and susceptible to abuse," determining this by having them take personality tests he would analyze. Jones would also read students' palms and caress their palms to see their reactions, the attorney said.

Jones also reportedly required students to turn in personal journals. 

According to the lawsuit, Jones was reported in 1987 to then-principal Melquiades Mares, "but no disciplinary action or formal investigation took place." 

He was again reported to the same principal in 2001, this time by an employee, Coach Pamela Williams, as having an "inappropriate" relationship with a student. The lawsuit states that again no action was taken and nothing reported to law enforcement.

Jones was convicted in 2016 of criminal charges related to sexual assault and rape of a minor and sentenced to 46 years-life in prison. His conviction came after a 13-year-old victim came forward, accusing Jones of sexual abuse in 2012. 

"I’m hopeful this lawsuit will shine light on the need for change within the school district, so they stop covering up and turning a blind eye to sexual abuse regardless of how well-liked, popular, or "cool" a teacher is considered," one of the victims said in a statement provided by the attorney. 

LAUSD has released the following statement in response to the lawsuit:

"We have not been served with this lawsuit, and we do not comment on pending or ongoing litigation. However, the safety and well-being of our students remains our top priority."