Three Former Miramonte High School Students File Lawsuit Claiming Negligence and Sexual Abuse

(Jeff Heyman, Photographer)
Jane Doe 2 is one of three plaintiffs in the lawsuit recently filed against Miramonte High School and the Acalanes Union High School District, alleging sexual abuse by a teacher and negligence by the school and district to take action after the abuse was reported to staff.

    Three former Miramonte High School students filed a lawsuit against the school and Acalanes Union High School District (AUHSD) in December 2022, alleging negligence in failing to investigate and take action on reports of sexual abuse by a former teacher.
    The suit details multiple, specific actions of grooming behaviors, abuse and assault, which occurred from 2007-2009 and involved at least three female students. The students are identified by pseudonyms in the lawsuit.
    The teacher, Mark Litton, pled no contest to two charges of statutory rape, two counts of sexual penetration of a person under the age of 18 and one count of oral copulation of a person under the age of 18. He was sentenced in 2010 to two years in prison. The suit alleges that although Jane Doe 2 reported the inappropriate behavior of Litton to both a teacher and a school counselor in 2008, the school failed to do anything about it. The sexual assault of Jane Doe 3, which led to Litton’s prison sentence, occurred in 2009.
    The California Child Victims Act, a state law that went into effect in 2020, temporarily gave victims the opportunity to bring forth claims of childhood sexual abuse which would have previously been impossible because of statutes of limitations. The three-year window for filing these types of suits expired at the end of 2022.
    The 27-page complaint describes in detail how Litton preyed upon the students by “selecting vulnerable girls who were passionate about writing, reading or poetry; complimenting them and showering them with attention aimed at making them feel unique, smart and seen.”
    According to Jessica Dayton, the plaintiffs’ attorney, “There was a clear pattern of grooming behavior.” This comprised giving the students gifts, including the book, Lolita, passing notes to them in class, leaving notes on their cars, keeping them after class to talk to them alone and showing up at one student’s home multiple times.
    When Jane Doe 1 flinched at his touch, Litton told her to “calm down” and then accused her of being “really high strung,” per the complaint. After she turned 18, he invited her to his apartment where he raped her.
    “I noticed inappropriate behavior with this teacher and then I found out that he sexually assaulted a classmate prior to me,” said Jane Doe 2. “I spent the whole year trying to protect myself physically and mentally.
    “After I graduated, I found out that he had assaulted another classmate. It’s been a roller coaster, reliving the trauma. I took on more blame than I needed to. There were plenty of adults who should have acted differently,” said Jane Doe 2.
    “Frankly if someone had listened to Jane Doe 2, the assault against Jane Doe 3 would not have happened. Action would have been taken against Litton if the school had proper policies and procedures in place and followed them,” said Dayton.
    AUHSD Superintendent John Nickerson provided this statement in response to a request for an interview:
    “We received the complaint filed at the Contra Costa Superior Court by three graduates in early December 2022 and are deeply troubled by the alleged behaviors between 2007-2009 of Miramonte High School teacher, Mark Litton, who taught in the District for four years prior to his arrest and conviction in September 2009 for sex crimes against a 2009 Miramonte graduate. The District is extremely concerned to read the allegations related to how the District/school responded, or failed to respond, during this period to behaviors outlined in the complaint. The District has commenced a full investigation and remains committed to hold student well-being as our greatest priority.
    “In any case involving sexual abuse, there is concern that additional victims may exist who have not yet come forward. We encourage anyone with information about this teacher, or other cases in which students may have been abused, to contact the Contra Costa Sheriff’s Department and/or our District Office.”
    “The District has no further comment at this time.”
    The suit requests monetary compensation for damages to the victims, but money isn’t the only thing the plaintiffs are seeking.
    “Accountability for the school district and the school is what it’s about for each and every one of them,” said Dayton.

Editor’s Note: The Orinda News will continue to cover this story in future issues as the lawsuit progresses.

Kathy Cordova can be reached at

(Kathy Cordova and Charleen Earley)
Curated and condensed timeline according to the 27-page Acalanes Union High School District/Miramonte High School lawsuit filed by plaintiff’s Jane Doe #1, Jane Doe #2 and Jane Doe #3 on Dec. 6, 2022, with the Superior Court of California, Contra Costa County.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.