Greenberg Gross LLP filed a childhood sexual assault lawsuit against Colton Joint Unified School District (CJUSD) and its former Athletic Trainer, Tiffany Strauss-Gordon (Gordon). The lawsuit alleges the sexual assault, battery, and abuse of six underage varsity football players at Colton High School in San Bernardino County. The school is known for its powerhouse football program.
As the daughter of Harold Strauss, Colton’s acclaimed football coach, Gordon used her role as the team’s Athletic Trainer to gain access to the Plaintiffs and numerous other student-athletes. She took advantage of her position of influence, authority, and power—given to her by CJUSD—to develop the players’ trust and then to repeatedly sexually assault, harass, and molest them. Gordon’s sexual assaults occurred throughout Colton High School’s campus, including in the locker room, training room, bathrooms, weight room, and football trailer. Additional assaults took place off campus and in vehicles.
The lawsuit alleges that Gordon’s misconduct was no secret. Colton High School players, including Plaintiffs, discussed Gordon’s misconduct both amongst themselves and with the coaching staff. Students, players, coaches, and even parents knew or heard about Gordon’s pervasive sexual misconduct. The lawsuit alleges that coaches and other senior school officials had knowledge of the sexual assaults and chose to do nothing. Moreover, proper supervision of these student athletes was clearly lacking given the multiple red flags that were ignored.
Greenberg Gross partner Brian Williams commented as follows:
“What happened at Colton High School is unacceptable. While at school, students are entitled to feel safe and must be protected. School officials have an obligation to safeguard kids from sexual misconduct, and report any suspicious or improper conduct. None of that occurred in this situation and the time has come to hold those involved accountable. I could not be more proud of my clients for coming forward in an effort to bring closure for themselves, but also to protect future students from similar misconduct.”
As a result of the above-described conduct, Plaintiffs have suffered and continue to suffer pain and suffering, relationship and intimacy issues, and emotional distress. Plaintiffs are suing under a California law that allows victims of childhood sexual assault to take legal action against their perpetrator, or a person or entity who owed them a duty of care, regardless of when the actual assault occurred. To take advantage of this opportunity, any lawsuit must be filed by December 31, 2022.
Greenberg Gross counsel Jemma Dunn commented on the significance of the case:
“These men were in their most formative adolescent years and should have been able to trust those in authority; both their trainer who, as an adult, took advantage of their adolescence, and the coaches and staff around them, who encouraged it. The law does not distinguish between genders and neither should we. They deserved better.”
Linked and Related News Coverage:
- Daughter of HS football legend accused of sexual abuse as athletic trainer
October 4, 2022 | New York Post
- Brian Williams interviewed on CBS Los Angeles about sexual abuse at Colton High School
October 4, 2022 | CBS Los Angeles
- 6 former Colton High School football players allege sexual abuse by ex-coach’s daughter
October 3, 2022 | Los Angeles Times
- 6 former Colton High football players allege sexual abuse by former coach’s daughter
September 30, 2022 | Orange County Register