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Santa Maria high school district facing lawsuit over former teacher’s abuse of students

SANTA MARIA, Calif. – A lawsuit was filed against the Santa Maria Joint Union High School District over an ex-teacher's sexual abuse of students.

The lawsuit was filed by a former student.

It accuses the school district of failing to conduct a "basic and proper" background check on Michael Cardoza.

Back in 2008, he was sentenced to 16 years in prison for sexually abusing the same student involved in this lawsuit.

Cardoza taught at Santa Maria and Pioneer Valley High Schools between 1997 and 2006. The lawsuit alleges that Cardoza had a long history of sexually abusing kids throughout his teaching career.

Cardoza is listed as a defendant in the lawsuit, in addition to the school district.

The plaintiff's lawyers say the case was filed under the California Child Victims Act (AB 218), a law that allows survivors to file civil lawsuits for child sexual abuse that was previously not allowed due to the statute of limitations expiring.

We reached out to the school district for a statement but were told they had no comment at this time.

To read the court documents, click here.

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