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Judge denies request to file claim

ADAM KAYE
Staff Writer

The family of a young boy who allegedly was molested by his former pastor over a 15-month period will continue to seek the court's permission to file a claim against Encinitas Union School District, after a Superior Court judge last week denied the request.

In a tentative ruling issued last Thursday, Judge Marshall Y. Hockett determined the family's claim of negligent supervision by the elementary school district missed a state-mandated filing deadline of six months after the alleged incidents occurred.

But both sides will have the opportunity to present oral arguments to Hockett on Friday, and the judge could change his ruling based on those arguments.

Attorneys on both sides did not return phone calls seeking comment on Monday.

The boy's family contends the youngster was molested by former pastor Michael Skoors between January 2000 and March 2001, during a time when the school district let the boy leave Flora Vista Elementary School several times with Skoors.

The family filed a claim against the school district in December 2001, nine months after the molestations allegedly happened, Hockett wrote in his ruling.

The filing "was beyond the six-month claim period required (by the) Government Code. ...Therefore, the court finds his December claim was untimely," Hockett ruled.

However, a late claim filed by the family and accepted by the district in December 2001 could cover acts which occurred between December 2000 and December 2001, Hockett wrote. That period includes a three-month span within the 15 months the molestation allegedly occurred.

Skoor, 55, and a former pastor at Calvary Lutheran Church in Solana Beach, is accused of molesting the boy and his younger brother, both of whom are elementary school age. He has pleaded not guilty to 30 counts, including committing a lewd act on a child, showing pornography to a minor and burglary. He remains jailed on $2 million bail pending a July 8 trial date.

Skoor faces a possible 40 years to life sentence in prison if convicted on all counts.

According to court papers, the pastor's name was listed on the Pupil Information Card the family provided the school district. The family's attorney argued in court papers that the district allowed the boy to leave with the pastor "despite the limitation that Skoor would have contact with (the child) only in an emergency ..."

Hockett ruled that the issue of the pupil card was raised too late in the legal proceedings to be properly considered.

State law requires a plaintiff to file a claim with a public agency ---- such as a school district ---- before a lawsuit can be filed. The claims, however, are commonly rejected.

Contact staff writer Adam Kaye at (760) 943-2312 or akaye@nctimes.com.

4/23/02

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