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East Palo Alto girl sues former social worker for alleged molestation

San Mateo County and employees are also named as defendants in case involving Manuel Anton Sedillo-Messer

A former San Mateo County Child Protective Services Agency social worker accused of molesting East Palo Alto girls to which he was assigned is now being sued by one of his alleged victims, according to a lawsuit filed in San Mateo County Superior Court.

The suit, which was filed by the girl's court-appointed guardian, Jonathan McDougall, on June 11, alleges that Manuel Anton Sedillo-Messer, 38, engaged in unlawful sexual intercourse, sexual penetration, oral copulation, sexual assault and battery, gender violence, breach of mandatory duty and other accusations.

San Mateo County and other unnamed defendants in the county's employ are also named as defendants in many of the accusations, including breach of mandatory duty, negligent hiring, retention supervision and training and negligence.

Sedillo-Messer, of Santa Clara, is facing 30 criminal charges for allegedly engaging in sexual acts with three underage girls, according to the San Mateo County District Attorney's Office. He was assigned to work with troubled children in East Palo Alto, some of whom were transferred out of the county and placed in foster care, according to the DA. Seventeen counts apply to his alleged abuse of the plaintiff in the civil case.

Sedillo-Messer was originally arrested on Oct. 28, 2014, and was charged with 20 counts, including oral copulation and sexual penetration with two 16-year-old victims. He was subsequently charged in January 2015 with molesting a third 16-year-old victim who was also on his caseload and was ordered to stand trial in March.

The plaintiff in the civil case is referenced as Jane Doe No. 1, according to the lawsuit. Sedillo-Messer was assigned as a social worker to Jane Doe's family in 2011. Although he was no longer a social worker for her family by July 2012, he maintained contact with the girl. He was reassigned as her social worker in January 2014, after she was placed in long-term foster care.

Sedillo-Messer allegedly began seeing Jane Doe almost daily and began having inappropriate contact and discussions with her in January 2014. Because he was her social worker, she depended on him as a role model and parent-like figure to provide guidance, the lawsuit states. He leveraged his position and authority to manipulate Jane Doe into a sexual relationship, the suit alleges.

Sedillo-Messer allegedly relayed intimate details of his sexual encounters and extramarital affairs to Jane Doe. At one point, while alone with Jane Doe in an elevator, he allegedly told her he was thinking about having sex with her. He allegedly drove the girl to a motel in Kingsburg, California, where he engaged in oral sex and had sexual intercourse four times with her, according to the lawsuit. The sexual relations continued through Aug. 23, 2014, including at Sedillo-Messer's home, the home of Jane Doe's mother and in county-owned vehicles.

The suit also names San Mateo County and other unnamed defendants in the county's employ as defendants for aiding and abetting Sedillo-Messer.

As "mandated reporters" under law, employees at San Mateo County Dependent Children's Home, the county's Youth Services Center and at group-home facilities where Jane Doe was living are required to inform authorities of suspected or known sexual abuse. According to the lawsuit, they failed to report the incidents, despite Jane Doe having explicitly told the employees that Sedillo-Messer was having sexual relations with her.

San Mateo's Office of the County Counsel could not immediately be reached for comment.

Comments

7 people like this
Posted by Michael Stogner
a resident of another community
on Jun 21, 2015 at 11:08 am

San Mateo County Manager and the 5 Supervisors have done Nothing to make sure children are safe in San Mateo County.

Dr. William Ayres employed by SMC, Stuart Forrest Chief of Probation, Alex Kerr SMC IT, Cardell Brown Project 90,

just to name a few, Ask the leaders what have you done to make sure this doesn't happen again?


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