Lawsuit accuses school district, shelter and gay rights organization of failing to protect Larry King
VENTURA, Calif. — The family of a gay teenager who was shot to death in class filed a wrongful-death lawsuit that accuses the school district, a shelter and a gay rights organization of failing to protect him.
The suit, which seeks unspecified damages, was filed Wednesday, Feb. 11 in Ventura County Superior Court.
Larry King, 15, of Oxnard, was killed in February 2008. His classmate at E.O. Green Junior High, Brandon McInerney, was charged as an adult and has pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder and a hate crime.
If convicted, McInerney could face 51 years to life in prison.
McInerney, now 15, allegedly shot King twice in the head in English class. Prosecutors said there had been rising tension between the two after the eighth-grader told McInerney he loved him.
The 18-page lawsuit filed by King’s parents and brother names nearly two dozen defendants. It claims that everyone from King’s teacher to his social worker failed to urge the effeminate teen to tone down flamboyant behavior. The suit also claims they failed to heed McInerney’s alleged threat to kill King a day before the shooting.
In addition to his teacher and principal, the suit names McInerney and his parents; the nonprofit Casa Pacifica, a shelter for troubled children where King had been living; counselors; a county social worker, and the Ventura County Rainbow Alliance.
The school and shelter knew that King’s behavior was "sexually assertive" and threatening but failed to take action, the suit contends.
The shelter gave him "cross-dressing clothes and makeup and women’s boots," and the Rainbow Alliance encouraged King to make sexual advances on McInerney, the suit claims.
Alliance Executive Director Jay Smith denied the allegation.
"No facilitator or mental health therapist would say anything even remotely like that," Smith said. "This whole thing is just frivolous."
Casa Pacifica did nothing to contribute to the boy’s death, administrator Steve Elson said.
The Hueneme School District earlier denied responsibility for King’s death.
McInerney’s mother, Kendra McInerney, told the Ventura County Star she declined to comment, saying that she had not seen the suit.
Information from: Ventura County Star, http://venturacountystar.com