By the time the Pasadena City Attorney Office filed on John Gottuso most of his alleged abuse of students statue of limitations had lapsed. One case proceeded. The victim was not my client but she allowed me to speak for her that day. My speech was nothing more than asking his past victims to stand up in court. “Will the victims of the 60’s please stand,” I said. “Now those of the 70’s…..The Eighties please…now the 90’s…”
I explained to the court I wanted Gottuso to know the court now knew what he was and that if there were victims in the next century Gottuso would know the court would put him behind bars for as long as possible.
It was also a great catharsis for so many women together to look down upon him in the courtroom with a Judge and the media present.
here are news stories
Man With Sex-Abuse History Runs School
Court: Legal loophole lets psychologist operate private facility despite criminal conviction, revoked license.
April 28, 1998|STEVE BERRY | TIMES STAFF WRITER
They came to court Monday to watch 66-year-old John Gottuso, a Pasadena psychologist who runs a church and Christian school, be sentenced for demonstrating a sex act with a teenage girl.
And they came to bemoan the fact that he will still be able to operate a school.
It was nine years ago that Gottuso lost his license to practice because a state agency found that he was having sex with some of his patients.
Two years later, another state agency forbade Gottuso from having any involvement with his church’s preschool, partly because agency investigators said he once played “sex tag” under a blanket with two girls.
Then last month, Gottuso settled a sexual- and psychological-abuse lawsuit by 11 plaintiffs.
And Monday, a Pasadena Municipal Court judge sentenced him to 30 days house arrest and five years probation after he pleaded no contest to demonstrating a sex act with a 15-year-old girl in late 1995 in front of a class at his Christ-Bridge Academy, now based in Altadena.
But because of a loophole in a state law, those legal problems have done little to restrict Gottuso’s ability to counsel and teach children.
Even after the state Department of Social Services took action against his church’s license to operate a private preschool in 1989, Gottuso continued to operate.
His church circumvented the department’s restrictions on Gottuso’s involvement in the school by simply changing the description of it. The church stopped calling the school a preschool, instead limiting enrollment to students in kindergarten through high school, said Pasadena Deputy City Prosecutor Connie Orozco, who handled the most recent case against him.
State law regulates preschools to shield them from abuse, but does not regulate private schools that serve kindergartners and grades above, Orozco said.
“The law absolutely needs to be changed,” she said.
Paul Morantz, a Pacific Palisades lawyer who represented the six adults and five students in the civil suit against Gottuso, said: “We as a state owe the public some protection . . . to make sure that no one with this kind of track record can teach in private schools.”
Outside court, Gottuso and his lawyer declined to comment.
Gottuso teaches and preaches to what disenchanted former followers describe as a sexually focused, psycho-religious cult based on unquestioning devotion and obedience to him.
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Verdict: Use Simple Good Sense
May 05, 1998
The sentencing last week of Pasadena psychologist John Gottuso to 30 days of house arrest and five years of probation on a sex-abuse charge poses an obvious question. Just how was this man able to run a private Christian K-12 school? And why will he be able to return to it once his sentence is completed? The answer requires some explanation, but there is a way to rectify what appears to be an appalling situation.
On Monday of last week, a Pasadena municipal court judge handed out the sentence after Gottuso pleaded no contest to demonstrating a sex act with a teenage girl at his school. But that’s not all that we know about this character. Back in 1989, the California State Board of Medical Quality Assurance revoked Gottuso’s license to practice as a psychologist. That was after nine female patients complained to state regulators that Gottuso engaged in a variety of sex acts with them, in clear violation of professional standards.
Two years later, another state agency barred Gottuso from any involvement with his church’s preschoolers, in part because investigators said he once played “sex tag” under a blanket with two girls. And just last month, Gottuso settled a sexual and psychological abuse lawsuit filed by 11 plaintiffs that required Gottuso’s insurer to fork out $3.2 million.
Here’s the problem: Private schools are not licensed by the state. Schools have been barred only since October from hiring convicted felons, but Gottuso is not a felon. Obviously, a private school that wanted to keep its accreditation could fire Gottuso outright, but Gottuso runs his school. He’s in charge.
Current laws could be amended to handle this situation. For example, laws that bar adults guilty of violent or serious felonies from working at private schools could have language added to include any sex offense, including misdemeanors. And state officials could have, and should have, publicized each of their actions, offering a clear warning to parents who might not otherwise know about a professional’s checkered past. If it makes sense to publicize the names of people who will not pay child support, why not do the same to state-licensed professionals who could endagner children, keeping them from contact with preschoolers and similar situations?
In fact a law was passed as a result non qualifying for private school teaching anyone who would not qualify for teaching in public school.