Lynwood, CA. An eighty-seven-year-old man has filed a sexual harassment suit against the Lynwood, CA., Elementary School District, charging failure on the part of the district to protect him from predatory female classmates eighty years ago. The litigant, Bernard Yelsin, claims he was the recipient of numerous unwanted kisses by two girls in his second grade class at Washington Elementary, and that some of them were imposed while his teacher looked on.
"I wanna sue," Yeltsin told The Spoof when interviewed earlier this week. "Gals. and some guys, are getting seven figure settlements for offenses far less harassing than the shame I have endured all these years."
What seems to have prompted Yelsin's interest in suing at this late date? Southern California has had a little epidemic of such belated accusations. Guys and gals in their mid- and late-twenties have claimed that they were sexually harassed on campus over a decade ago when they were middle school or senior high students. Settlements, with or without court action, have brought the claimants millions of dollars, all paid by the districts involved.
Revelations by the young adults followed the massive payouts by the Los Angeles Unified School District in connection with numerous complaints of improper sexual contact by teachers dating back over a decade. Some of those payouts occurred even though the district attorney refused to prosecute the alleged violators.
Yeltsin isn't asking for criminal charges against the alleged offenders. He doesn't even know if they are still alive. In fact, the Lynwood Elementary School District no longer exists, so technically Yeltsin plans to sue its successor, the Lynwood Unified School District.
Legal scholars have raised two significant questions: Can Yeltsin actually sue the Lynwood district for failing to protect him from the sexual harassment he was subjected to by two girls, unidentified but referred to in court documents as Jane and Janis Doe? Should Jane and Janis be required to register for life as Sexual. Harassment. Offenders, which was the initial punishment given to a six-year-old boy in Colorado for planting an unwanted kiss on a girl classmate?
Does it really matter that all this occurred in 1937? The fact that Yeltsin still remember the agony and embarrassment he suffered is a clear indication that permanent damage was done to his psyche. "Unquestionably, my relationship with women was affected by those unwanted kisses," Yeltsin claims.
"I vividly remember Jane and Janis standing together, whispering and giggling while, as it turned out, they were plotting strategy for planting those kisses. I was completely unaware of their intentions that first time as Janis ran up to me on the playground during recess and landed that kiss firmly on my cheek.
"If Lucy's reaction to a Snoopy kiss had been known to us in 1937, I would have shouted 'Dog germs!' But Charlie Brown was years away. I simply ran to the outdoor drinking fountain and thoroughly washed my face. Oh, the shame of it all!
"At the time, I thought Jane and Janis had a crush on me. Eventually I realized they were having fun at the expense of a 'Goody Two-shoes,' a teacher's pet whom they thought needed a comeuppance. They sure delivered one.
"The teacher," Yeltsin continued, "must have known. The principal did nothing. The district didn't even have a policy on sexual harassment. I ought to be able to collect a few bucks for the decades of trauma I've suffered as a result. It doesn't have to be a seven figure settlement. I'll accept a more modest amount."
The Lynwood alumni still hold reunions. A long-outdated list of alums still carries the names of Jane and Janis. Neither was listed as married. "That's sad," lamented Yeltsin, who remained single all this life. "They would have made some guys good spouses."
Ultimately, that Colorado boy's offense was downgraded from Sexual. Harassment. Offender to simple "misconduct." "That's good news," said Yeltsin, "for he apparently is a kid who some day will be a loving husband and father. I hope the girl he kissed realizes he did it because he likes her and that he's not promiscuous. Maybe fifteen years from now he'll be able to kiss her without it being on national television.
"But if she winds up as an unmarried octogenarian, that Colorado school district better be prepared for a costly suit."