VISTA — A trial date has been set for next year in a parent’s civil lawsuit against Callan Swim School in San Marcos, alleging that school officials’ negligence led her son to be sexually abused by a former instructor in 2021.
The victim, referred to as M.G., was six years old when then-instructor Nicholas Piazza allegedly abused him during a swim lesson at Callan Swim School in July 2021.
The child’s parent stated in the civil complaint, filed in October 2022, that school officials ignored red flags indicating that Piazza should not be working with children — specifically, a previous report that Piazza had encouraged a child to reach into his pants during a swim lesson, and a juvenile charge he was facing for performing a sexual act with his family dog.
During a Friday hearing at the Vista Courthouse, Superior Court Judge Robert Dahlquist scheduled a jury trial for March 2024 along with a readiness hearing in February 2024. The judge also acknowledged that both sides are engaged in settlement negotiations.
“I’ll just encourage the parties to keep working on that … hopefully it will be resolved and the case will be dismissed,” Dahlquist said.
Piazza, 19, is now facing child sexual abuse charges related to M.G. and two other children. A trial, in that case, was recently set for May 15.
Callan Swim School attorney David Baumgarten said in court Friday that he hoped to see the civil case settled within 60 days. Baumgarten also told The Coast News that he is prepared to go to trial if a settlement cannot be reached.
“We have a trial date and we will be prepared to defend our case,” Baumgarten said. “I remain confident, based on what I know, that my client didn’t do anything wrong.”
The lawsuit claims that Callan Swim School owner Brett Callan was made aware around the spring of 2020 of a report from a parent that Piazza had “told her daughter to reach toward his genital area” during a lesson but did not terminate his employment.
The suit said that in October 2020, Piazza’s mother Larissa, who served as the pool’s manager, also informed Callan that her son was facing criminal charges for performing a sexual act with the family dog.
Piazza’s employment was briefly terminated at this time, but he was rehired months later and would go on to sexually abuse M.G. in mid-2021, the suit states.
Callan Swim School claimed in a February court filing that they were prohibited from inquiring into Piazza’s juvenile charges related to his dog or using the charges as a basis to suspend or terminate him.
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