Family Sues Hollywood Charter School After Teen Allegedly Abused by Substitute Teacher

The family of a 15-year-old girl is suing a South Florida charter school, alleging that it failed to protect the teen after police say she was sexually abused by a substitute teacher.

Roman Jose Fondon Jr., a sub at Ben Gamla Charter High School in Hollywood, was arrested in September 2018 and charged with multiple counts of sexual battery and lewd and lascivious acts on a minor.

Police allege 28-year-old Fondon engaged in sex acts with the female student at the school and at the parking lot of the Hollywood YMCA between February and April of last year. The girl told detectives they also communicated through social media, where they exchanged sexual messages and pictures of themselves.

The victim's mother exclusively told NBC 6 on Wednesday that she trusted the charter school to be a good place for her child.

"Last place I was thinking of was in the school ... it was a shock," she said.

The suit alleges "at no time did the (defendants) place Fondon on probation, provide training about appropriate communication with students, place him under supervision, or take any steps to protect students."

The family's attorney, Peter Leighton, said the school was aware that Fondon was not a teacher and was not certified.

"Yet they let him have unfettered access to these young girls, which he did here -- a 15-year-old he sexually abused," Leighton said. "He had contact with her at the school, he took her off school property."

The victim's mother said her daughter is still working to recover. 

"I was in shock," she said. "I saw my daughter was bad, really bad, just crying. Depression. She say, 'I want to die.'"

Academica, the service that runs the charter school, told NBC 6 it hasn't been served the lawsuit and can't comment. The charter school said it disagrees with the allegations and that it hasn't done anything wrong.

Fondon has entered a not guilty plea to his charges and is out on bond. 

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