Tuesday, September 24, 2013

CVESD sues federal government over teacher accused of child molestation

CVESD has hired Fagen Friedman & Fulfrost to sue the United States Department of Justice. In its Freedom of Information Act complaint asking for a copy of the immunity deal teacher John Kinloch received in the late 1990s for testifying in a case about child pornography, the school district states, "The public interest in knowing those details far outweighs any privacy interest..."

I couldn't agree more. But CVESD has made clear over the years that it believes its own secrets about illegal actions of staff are not the public's business. CVESD reflexively pays lawyers to quash subpoenas seeking information information about serious problems.

Why didn't CVESD fire accused child molester John Kinloch after Victim #1, a former Feaster student, revealed five years ago that he had been molested for years by Kinloch? Why did he stay in his classroom until his recent arrest?

Who made the decision to keep Kinloch in the classroom? The Superintendent and board have a habit of looking away whenever any employment decision with legal ramifications must be made. They rubber stamp whatever decision the HR head presents after receiving instructions from lawyers. They don't like to know too much or think too much about such things, so they'll have plausible deniability when the decision turns out to be harmful or illegal. The public doesn't know what went on, so the board members are returned to office.

The principals I have worked with in CVESD didn't know most of the teachers on their staffs. Only a few teachers were close to the principals, and those few practically lived in the principals' offices. They served as the principals' eyes and ears. These powerful teachers were often motivated by school politics to sabotage many of their colleagues at the expense of children's well-being and education.

If Raymond Kinloch's principals had met with each member of their staffs for an informal 10-minute chat once a month about what was going on in the teachers' classrooms and the teachers' minds, I believe that CVESD would have found out years ago that something peculiar was going on.

Does CVESD now suddenly believe the public has a right to know? Can we now expect that Chula Vista Elementary School District is going to start seriously investigating problems, and producing information in court cases? Or can we expect more debacles such as the handling of a report by two teachers at Castle Park Elementary that a school shooting might be imminent? Instead of investigating, the board called in lawyers to conduct "investigations". But then the lawyers refused to produce their information in court, claiming attorney-client privilege, and--get this--LOST a slew of documents. Shame on the board, particularly Pam Smith and Larry Cunningham, for showing so little concern about student safety and the education of students. Their neglect caused my school to spin out of control due to the incompetent and malicious handling of the "imminent shooting" hoax. The school ended up having 11 principals in 11 years, and two separate embezzlements by PTA officials, before the district managed to push out the problem teachers and administrators.

Ironically, the federal judge in the infamous Moser v. Bret Harte High School District case ordered Fagen Friedman Fulfrost partner Howard Fulfrost to take ethics training because of "lying and obstruction" by his former firm, Lozano Smith. Apparently Mr. Fulfrost has a higher opinion of truth-telling now that the shoe is on the other foot.

See all posts about arrested CVESD teacher John Kinloch.

By Greg Moran
Sept. 21, 2013

Chula Vista Elementary School District officials are suing the federal Department of Justice, trying to figure out why no red flags came up when the district went to hire a teacher who had been involved in a child pornography ring.

The lawsuit filed in San Diego federal court on Tuesday says the government has refused to acknowledge it made an immunity deal more than 15 years ago with the man, 42-year-old John Kinloch.

The deal had been reported in the media as far back as 1998, and Kinloch himself testified about it in court.

Kinloch was arrested in December and charged with molesting a former student and persuading other boys to send him nude photographs. He pleaded not guilty and is on unpaid leave from his job as a teacher at Wolf Canyon Elementary School.

The district says it needs the federal documents to figure out why Kinloch’s past did not come up in the background check it conducted before he was hired, and determine whether any legislative fixes could prevent a repeat in the future.

The Justice Department cited a provision of the federal Freedom of Information Act that said confirming or denying any records of a deal with Kinloch would “constitute a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy.”

The department refused requests to turn over information, and last week declined to comment because of the pending litigation.

“We would hope the Department of Justice would share our concerns of preventing this from ever happening again,” school district spokesman Anthony Millican said. “Why did the background check fail? We need their records to explain how this happened, so we can change it and stop it from happening again.”

Kinloch was hired by the district in 2000 and taught at two schools, most recently at Wolf Canyon.

Two years before he was hired, Kinloch testified in a trial in England against a man charged with what was then the relatively new crime of transmitting child pornography over the Internet. The investigation into the man in England led police to Kinloch, who would later testify he had traded child pornography with the man since 1995.

Kinloch struck a bargain with U.S. authorities: He would get immunity here from child pornography charges, so long as he went to England and testified. The agreement wasn’t really a secret, since Kinloch spoke about it in open court.

“They said they would not prosecute me if I told the truth and cooperated,” he testified, according to a news account of the trial in a British newspaper.

Also, the San Diego Reader in 1998 published a story about the case and Kinloch’s role, quoting Mitchell Dembin, the prosecutor who arranged the plea deal and is now a U.S. magistrate judge in San Diego.

When Kinloch returned to the states, he completed his course work at San Diego State University and got a teaching credential. When Chula Vista hired him in September 2000, nothing about his involvement in the ring, or the immunity agreement, turned up in his background check.

That could be because Kinloch was never formally charged here, so no court or arrest record would be in the system. The news stories did not turn up because the district did not conduct Internet searches then on potential employees and does not now.

Background checks for teachers in California are handled through a program administered by the state Department of Justice when applicants apply for teaching credentials.

The exact reason the background check didn’t uncover Kinloch’s past isn’t known, and the district wants to find out. It wants copies of the immunity arrangement as well as any correspondence with the department and with officials from Great Britain.

The public interest in knowing those details far outweighs any privacy interest, the district contends. Millican said that the public relies on the integrity of background checks to identify people like Kinloch, who testified that he was attracted to boys who were teenagers, and younger.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

CVESD teacher John Kinloch to be tried in child sex case

John Raymond Kinloch (Photo from Crime Voice.com)

See all posts regarding CVESD teacher John Raymond Kinloch.
See also "California Teachers Association protects child molesting teacher."


Preliminary Exam scheduled for May 28 2015 8:45AM at the San Diego Superior Court, North County Division, Vista Regional Center in Department 5. Event Felony Jury Trial Location San Diego Superior Court, South County Division, South County Regional Center, Dept. 16 Defendant John Raymond Kinloch Defense Counsel Kerry Armstrong Court No. CS261258 DA No. BBQ194 Click Here to request automatic e-mail notifications about this case.

Update 2014
Former teacher gets new trial date
Neal Putnam
Aug 28 2014
A former Chula Vista elementary school teacher accused of molesting five boys has received a new trial date of Nov. 10 after the prosecutor was appointed by Gov. Jerry Brown to be a judge. The appointment of Enrique Camarena to the San Diego Superior Court bench may not be related to the trial delay as the attorney for John Raymond Kinloch, 43, had planned to seek a delay. Kinloch was to have stood trial Aug. 25 in Chula Vista Superior Court but it was moved to Nov. 10. Defense counsel had sought delays before as he has a number of other cases in trial. The new prosecutor is Harrison Kennedy. Kinloch has pleaded not guilty to 35 counts of committing lewd or lascivious acts, attempted lewd acts with underage boys and one count of possession of child pornography. He was arrested Dec. 5, 2012, and remains in jail on $1.9 million bail.

UPDATE SEPT. 7, 2013:

It would be nice if Chula Vista Elementary School District were as forthcoming with documents as it wants other agencies to be. For example, it would be appropriate for CVESD to provide the police with documentation of any suspensions it may have imposed on Mr. Kinlock in previous years. The second story below states, "It wasn't until he was in 7th grade that the alleged victim spoke out." That was five years ago. So why did CVESD keep Kinloch in the classroom for several more years, until the police stepped in and arrested him?

Teacher to be tried in child sex case
U-T San Diego
Anthony Millican, spokesman for the Chula Vista Elementary School District, said the district has made two requests for records from the U.S. Department of ...


Teen Testifies Ex-Teacher Molested Him After School
By Sherene Tagharobi and R. Stickney
Sep 5, 2013

A young man testified in graphic detail Thursday, describing how he was molested by a former teacher after school in the classroom of a Chula Vista charter school.

Former teacher John Kinloch was arrested in November 2012 as part of a national child pornography bust, accused of posing as a 13-year-old girl to befriend boys ages 12 to 16 through a website.

At the time of his arrest on child molestation charges and child pornography charges, the 41-year-old had been teaching for 14 years and had passed background checks designed to protect students in the Chula Vista Elementary School District.

The alleged victim, identified in court as “John Doe 1”, met the defendant when he was a student in Kinloch’s 2nd grade class at Feaster Charter School on Flower Street.

The 7-year-old would often hang out in the teacher’s classroom every day until about 6 p.m. according to the teen's testimony. The two would sometimes go out to dinner together. After, the student would walk home or Kinloch would drive him home, he said.

Then, when the child was in 3rd grade, “John Doe 1” said Kinloch asked him to take off his clothes. The teenager testified he didn't want to do it but didn't want to get his former teacher upset.

“He told me that if I truly cared about him that I would get naked and he told me that his friends told him it was the best way for someone to show that they cared about someone,” the alleged victim testified Thursday.

The alleged victim, now 17, didn’t make eye contact with the defendant while testifying
. Kinloch shook his head as if in disagreement with what the teenager was saying several times during the testimony.

“I didn’t want to whatsoever but he just kept dragging it on and sort of getting aggravated where he’d sigh deeply and show that he was getting sort of mad so I didn’t want to make him too upset so I did,” the teenager testified.

The abuse continued as the child moved into the 4th grade with the defendant allegedly asking the child to expose himself “many times” but touching the boy’s genitals only occasionally, according to testimony.

The teenager stated the alleged molestation happened on school grounds at least twice when the classroom door was locked. The molestation continued for five to six years the teenager testified.

He lived at home with his mother and two sisters at the time. He said his father was never around much. The teenager testified that he started hanging out with Kinloch because he thought he was cool.

The teacher and his former student would tell each other “I love you” when others weren't around the teen testified.

It wasn't until he was in 7th grade that the alleged victim spoke out. He said he kept hanging out with Kinloch because he wanted to get past it and would attempt to delay the act of undressing when asked.

He admired Kinloch for other things and said the former teacher taught him manners and how to be a good person.

Under cross-examination, the teenager said he read several news accounts of Kinloch’s arrest and was angry about the allegations.

“John Doe 1” was the first of three alleged victims who were expected to testify in the case against the former teacher.

Kinloch faces an additional 12 counts of lewd acts with a child under the age of 18 involving a second alleged victim. The allegations involve situations that happened between August and December of 2012, investigators said. The alleged victim was under the age of 13 and not a student.

He also faces six additional lewd act charges involving a third victim who was 14 or 15 between 1996 and 1998 when he alleges inappropriate contact. The incident allegedly occurred when Kinloch was 24 or 25 and not working as a teacher.

Kinloch was teaching first grade at Wolf Canyon Elementary School at the time of his arrest. He was placed on unpaid leave of absence during criminal proceedings.

If convicted of all charges, Kinloch faces 450 years to life in prison.