Wednesday, July 15, 2015 06:00PM
By Corin Hoggard ABC30 News
FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) — A Valley school district under fire, accused of allowing a teacher’s abusive behavior to continue for two decades.
“Everyone and anyone should’ve known that this guy was a pedophile and that he was preying on his young students,” said Brian Kabateck, an attorney representing several victims.
Four of the teacher’s victims are telling their stories, only to Action News.
The Monson-Sultana School District will face five new lawsuits Thursday — four of them from young men who once defended their former teacher and coach, David Blancas.
Blancas was sentenced to life in prison two years ago, in 2013. The school district got its first report of abuse against him 18 years earlier. But not only was he not stopped, he was promoted.
When David Blancas entered a not guilty plea to sex abuse charges in 2012, an Action News reporter briefly met four young men — all there to support their former teacher and coach.
“I didn’t believe it,” said a victim we’re identifying as R.V. “I defended him on social media, saying it was all lies. I don’t know where it was all coming from.”
The man they knew was helpful, fatherly, and friendly enough to sign their Monson-Sultana yearbooks.
“Thanks for everything,” he signed in one. “You mack. ”
Blancas was also generous — super generous, in fact. He gave them candy and clothing and gaming systems, which the men showed us.
“The keys to the car he gave you,” R.V. said as he tossed them to the man we’re identifying as E.R.
“He gave me a car,” E.R. said.
He gave them overnight trips too — for sports and sometimes for fun. But less than a month after that first court hearing, police revealed some of the photos they found when they searched Blancas’ Reedley home — many of which were taken on those trips.
“They showed three pictures of me and then told me if I could figure it was me and I said ‘Yeah’,” E.R. said.
All four men found their younger selves exposed in compromising photos taken while they were asleep, forcing them to question everything they thought they knew as well as what else they may not know.
“It changed me into a person who just like, it’s just hard to trust people now,” said the man we’re identifying as V.V.
The lack of trust extends to the teachers and administrators at their former school. They now know a victim first reported abuse by Blancas back in 1995 — the year a couple of them were born.
Attorneys say the school district dropped an investigation then, and didn’t uncover sex crimes from 2001. So the teacher was still on campus to groom and take advantage of them, and more students after them.
“He could’ve gone on for who knows how long and there would’ve just been more victims and it would’ve been terrible,” said R.V. “That school was like his feeding ground.”
We only identified the victims by their initials because of the nature of the crimes, but they wanted to put their faces on a message to all schools that they need to do better in protecting children.
We reached out to the school district by phone and email, but it’s summer and we didn’t get any response.
All told, this will bring the total number of lawsuits against them to eight related to Blancas.