FONTANA >> A woman has filed a $2 million claim against the school district, alleging one of its former police officers raped her in his office.
In the claim, filed Dec. 9, the woman, the mother of a former Fontana High School student and who is not being identified because she is the alleged victim of rape, claimed that Officer John Frank Garcia, 43, of Riverside raped her in a portable classroom that housed his office in May 2011.
Four Fontana Unified Police Department employees have accused Garcia in separate lawsuits of sexually assaulting or raping them. Upland attorney Brian Hanneman is representing them and the mother.
Superintendent Leslie Boozer did not return repeated telephone calls Thursday seeking comment.
Garcia’s attorney, Michael Marlatt, also did not return telephone calls seeking comment.
Hanneman said Garcia has refused to answer any questions about any of the alleged incidents, and has pleaded the Fifth Amendment.
Garcia was in charge of the school district’s Fontana Leadership Intervention Program, or FLIP, for at-risk teens at the time of the alleged rape. He called the woman to his office around 7 p.m. in May 2011, telling the woman he could help her with her 15-year-old daughter who had gotten into trouble for truancy, according to the claim.
After talking briefly about the woman’s daughter, Garcia walked around to where the woman was sitting and sat on the edge of the table. He then grabbed both her breasts and started kissing her on the neck. The woman struggled to break free and repeatedly told Garcia to stop, to no avail, according to the claim.
Garcia pulled the woman up, shoved her onto the desk and raped her, according to the claim.
“I was afraid to say anything to anyone, for fear of (Garcia) retaliating against me or my daughter,” the woman said in her claim, “(Garcia) told me that he would help my daughter in the program if I kept quiet. I was afraid and said nothing,”
Garcia stalked the woman in the months thereafter, repeatedly calling her and following her, according to the claim. One night in 2011, Garcia pulled the woman over near Foothill Boulevard and Cypress Avenue and ordered her out of the car. He walked her to a nearby park where he groped her and tried to pull her skirt down, the woman said in her claim.
“I screamed and (Garcia) stopped his attack,” the woman said in the claim.
The statute of limitations to file a claim, a precursor to a lawsuit, with a government agency is within six months of the time of the alleged incident. Since more than two years have passed since the alleged rape, the school district will likely reject the claim, Hanneman said.
If that happens, which Hanneman said is most definite, he will file a petition in court asking if he could file a lawsuit on the woman’s behalf.
Garcia is described in the lawsuits filed by the four Fontana Unified School District Police Department employees as a “serial sexual predator who used his position as a police officer to prey upon females who worked alone at night.” In the last decade, he has been fired from or has left three Inland Empire law enforcement agencies — the Fontana Unified Police Department and the Fontana and Riverside police departments - due to allegations of sexual misconduct.
While working as an officer for the Fontana Police Department, Garcia was accused of sexually assaulting an 18-year-old cadet in August 2006. An internal affairs investigation was launched and the case submitted to the District Attorney’s Office for review, but county prosecutors declined to file criminal charges, citing insufficient evidence