Central Unified accused of enabling sexual abuse by employee

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Central Unified School District is being accused of allowing a Central High School employee to carry out a sexual relationship with a student.

Steffan Alberson is in prison for felony sex crimes.

When police went onto campus to investigate Alberson last year, someone mentioned his inappropriate behavior towards a former student.

Now, a lawsuit from that victim says -- if people knew about it in 2017, they should've stopped it when it was happening between 2013 and 2016.

The 30-year-old apologized for his crimes in February before heading off to prison, but for at least one victim, the debacle isn't done.

A new lawsuit says Alberson used beer, marijuana, money, and other gifts to coerce and groom the victim for sexual abuse -- when Alberson was a school liaison officer at Central High and the victim was a student.

Lawyers claim several employees witnessed Alberson's inappropriate behavior.

When police came to the school to investigate Alberson more than a year after the victim graduated, the lawsuit says a witness tipped them off about his inappropriate behavior with the former student.

"If that turns out to be true, if there's investigation that shows something else did happen back then, and that employee knew of it, did that employee impart that knowledge to anyone in the administration?" legal analyst Tony Capozzi said. "If that's the case, then clearly the administration is on the hook here."

Capozzi says the school district could be found negligent in hiring or supervising Alberson.

A Central Unified spokeswoman told Action News the district wouldn't have any comment on pending litigation, but Capozzi says their defense would probably be that they had no way of knowing what happened to the boy, especially since a lot -- if not all -- of the activity occurred off campus.

"If this activity was happening off school grounds, on what basis would the school district then know it's taking place?" he said. "Unless there's some kind of chatter or some kind of communication at the school district or if the school, some school employee or administrator, sees some unusual activity between the adult and the juvenile."

Alberson is at Wasco State Prison right now, serving a two-year prison sentence. He's eligible for parole in September.
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