KHSD hired investigator to videotape autistic girl

There are new accusations against the Kern High School District. Evidence shows its attorney hired a private investigator to follow and secretly videotape an autistic girl whose family just won a judgment in a prominent local case.
BAKERSFIELD, CA - There are new accusations against the Kern High School District. Evidence shows its attorney hired a private investigator to follow and secretly videotape an autistic girl whose family just won a judgment in a prominent local case.

This was all to gather evidence to support the district in the civil case which claimed the girl was emotionally damaged as a result of a sexual assault on school grounds. Last month, a jury ruled against the district and awarded the family $1.5 million, but to the girl's father this fight isn't over.

"It is time for accountability," said the girl's father Monday night. We are not identifying him to protect the identity of his daughter. "The district and its lawyers hired a private investigator to sit outside my home and to videotape my autistic daughter." 

According to the district, this claim is true. The father's attorney provided us the video of the surveillance. It shows his 16-year-old autistic daughter leaving her home. It also shows her at a Walmart on what her attorney said was a class trip. 

"It falls under the category have you no decency?," said Ralph Wegis, the family's attorney. 

According to the family's attorney, Ralph Wegis, the video was supposed to prove the girl was not emotionally damaged as the result of a sexual assault at Independence High School in 2009.    

"It's indecent because it's unnecessary given the issues of this case," said Wegis. "They see her every day. They don't need to have some investigator go out and film." 

But, the Kern High School District's attorney, Leonard Herr, said this surveillance was within the confines of the law.

"During the course of the trial this issue came up and the judge noted that it's perfectly acceptable to videotape people who claim they've been harmed as a result of some incident," said Herr. 

Herr believes Wegis sent his client to the board meeting to garner sympathy because the verdict may be overturned. 

"They are aware of some serious problems that occurred at trial, and they are trying to try this case in the press," said Herr. 

But according to the girl's father, it's not about money. It's about responsibility. 

"You seem completely unwilling and unable to accept the consequences of your mistakes," said the father. "Instead, you again and again blame others for your faults." 

The district has not appealed the ruling yet.
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