BARSTOW — The motion alleging that Barstow Christian School's principal knew of inappropriate contact between Kristen Kay Blanton and a 14-year-old boy student in October 2014 is expected to be heard before a judge next month.
The motion filed earlier this week seeks punitive damages added to a civil lawsuit against Barstow Christian School and Blanton, a former school secretary and convicted child molester. It alleges that Barstow Christian School Principal Heather Bradford knew of inappropriate contact with the victim and failed to report it to authorities as required by state law.
The Desert Dispatch sought comment from Bradford and Barstow Christian School officials Thursday. Multiple messages left at Barstow Christian School and with Jeffrey W. Tye, who represents Barstow Free Methodist Church in the matter, were not immediately returned.
Manly, Stewart & Finaldi senior attorney Saul Wolf, representing the family of the victim, said the motion is expected to be heard before a San Bernardino Superior Court judge on March 21. Wolf said Barstow Free Methodist Church has the opportunity to oppose the motion up until two weeks prior to the March hearing. If the church opposes the motion, Wolf said he is ready to counter.
“We believe the motion will be granted because of the testimony we have provided,” Wolf said. “We also have additional deposition from the school’s superintendent that testified he believes Blanton should have been fired immediately after the incident on Oct. 31, 2014. So we have these additional facts and testimony that could be included in our response if they do oppose the motion.”
During a deposition held in Rancho Cucamonga earlier this month, attorney Morgan Stewart claimed Bradford admitted to advising Blanton that she was to remain at least 6 feet away from the victim during work hours.
Stewart claims Bradford had clear knowledge of Blanton’s inappropriate sexual contact with the boy.
“She told Blanton and our client to stay away from each other in school but she did not report to authorities as required by law,” Stewart said in a press release. “She also did not tell the victim’s parents. Under California law that constitutes fraud and entitles our client to punitive damages.”
According to the filed motion, a document signed by Bradford states that Blanton was verbally told on Nov. 3, 2014 that she was not allowed to be within 6 feet of the victim, no longer allowed to substitute for two teachers for the remainder of the year, no longer allowed to be a “lunch monitor on the older student side” and allowed to “hang out” or have lunch in a specific classroom while sixth-, seventh- and eighth-grade students were present.
According to the motion, those “consequences” stemmed from an incident on Oct. 31, 2014 with the class where Blanton twisted a student’s arm “behind his back and upwards.” Blanton also allowed a student to place another student in a headlock/chokehold. A student was also hit with a phone that was thrown by student while “pinned” by Blanton.
According to the document, a student also used Blanton’s lipstick, then kissed her on the forehead, leaving an imprint.
“The lines of professionalism have been severely crossed,” the document reads. “This behavior is unacceptable of any school employee. Staff must conduct themselves in a professional manner at all times.”
According to documents found in the motion, the boy told authorities that Oct. 31, 2014 was also the first time he had sex with Blanton. The boy had sex with Blanton inside the restroom of her mother’s home in Barstow, while her two daughters watched television in the living room. Three days later, which was the day Blanton was verbally warned by Bradford, the boy met her in the office and they went to the adjacent library where they kissed.
“They dropped the ball and this incident should have been reported immediately,” Wolf said. “If reported the day of the incident, the abuse that proceeded for the three months would likely not have happened because she wouldn't have access to him at the school. As a father this is sad and horrifying to know that this type of incident could go without being reported. They boy’s mother was never even told that Blanton was told to stay 6 feet away from her child. The mother was not aware of that until after the investigation happened. This was kept from her by the school.”
Authorities said Blanton took the boy to various locations in Barstow and engaged in sexual acts with him between October and December in 2014.
Blanton met the boy at Barstow Christian School, where she was employed as a secretary. Blanton was arrested in January 2015 after the parents of the boy, who was 14 years told at the time, reported inappropriate text messages between the two.
During the investigation, authorities learned that Blanton and the boy had sex on at least four occasions, including on his 14th birthday, according to documents found within the motion. The boy also told authorities he kissed Blanton on multiple occasions and she performed a sexual act on him while at a movie theater, according to the documents.
Blanton in 2015 pleaded guilty to lewd or lascivious acts with a child aged 14 to 15 years old and dissuading a witness or victim. She had 172 days knocked off her three-year prison sentence for time served and for good behavior. As part of the plea deal, prosecutors dismissed six felony counts.
After serving her sentence, Blanton will be paroled for three to four years, authorities said. Blanton also was ordered to register as a sex offender for the rest of her life.
Blanton was originally facing 12 years in state prison if convicted as charged with four counts of lewd or lascivious acts with a child aged 14 to 15 years old, two counts of oral copulation and one count of oral copulation with a child under 16 years old.
Prior to Blanton’s sentencing, the boy’s mother read a statement to the court saying she accepted the plea deal for her family's privacy and safety and to allow Blanton's husband, daughters and parents to "begin to heal." The boy's mother said Blanton's family also has been betrayed, as she had been by Blanton.
The boy's mother went on to say the plea deal is a "walk in the park" for Blanton.
"I have been asked what I want to see. And what I would want isn't worth the price," she said. "I am a mother and I have a son to protect. And by doing so I am also protecting (Blanton's) children from the public scrutiny of a trial. My son and her daughters do not deserve any of this. My family, as well as her family, are all victims of the lies and the betrayal."
The boy’s mother went on to say she was happy when her son became friends with Blanton’s daughter.
“I never questioned her when she offered to take the kids to the movies, out to dinner, to the mall, to her parents' home and her home as well,” she said. “That is something I now have to live with. She wasn't protecting my child as a mother should do. She was feeding her pedophile tendencies."
Jose Quintero may be reached at 760-955-5332 or JQuintero@DesertDispatch.com. Follow him on Twitter at @DP_JoseQ.