CONCORD -- In a federal lawsuit filed this week, the family of an autistic student claims the teen's special education teacher at Mt. Diablo High School sexually assaulted him on the Concord campus, and district officials ignored earlier warnings that the teacher "posed a risk of sexual abuse to students."

"Mt. Diablo school officials failed to protect the students from a known danger," the boy's attorney, Jeff Herman, said Tuesday.

The lawsuit filed Monday lists the Mt. Diablo Unified School District as a defendant, and says the 16-year-old student was abused at the hands of a male teacher during the 2011-12 school year.

District officials did not respond to a call for comment, and administrators at the high school would only say that the teacher no longer works there. This newspaper is not naming the teacher accused since law enforcement officials have not confirmed that he is a suspect in a criminal case.

According to the suit, the teacher sexually assaulted the mentally disabled teen, identified only as John Doe, on at least 10 occasions and showed him pornography. The alleged abuse occurred after the teenager was dropped off on campus by a school bus and before his aide would arrive, the suit said. It further claims the teacher threatened the student "with a gun to keep quiet about the abuse."


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Herman said the boy's grandmother and caretaker filed a report with Concord police but he did not know the status of the investigation. Concord police officials could not be reached late Tuesday for comment.

The suit claims the high school's principal and vice principal were aware of reports the teacher had engaged in sexual misconduct with students before the alleged abuse of the autistic student during the 2011-12 school year. The teacher is alleged to have taken students alone in his car on field trips and given a student a bracelet with a "romantic inscription," according to the suit. The vice principal and principal no longer work at Mt. Diablo High School.

A school administrator overseeing special education students allegedly told the boy's grandmother that the teacher "is only going after the girls," and that her student was safe because he had an adult aide with him on campus.

The boy suffered physical, psychological and emotional injuries as a result of the abuse, according to the lawsuit, which seeks medical and legal costs and unspecified damages.

David DeBolt covers breaking news. Contact him in Richmond at 510-262-2728. Follow him at Twitter.com/daviddebolt.