Contra Costa county court house exterior

Pittsburg School District Sued Over Alleged Sexual Misconduct of Former Coach

Contra Costa county court house exterior

(Ray Saint Germain / Bay City News)

By Tony Hicks
Bay City News

A lawsuit filed this week against the Pittsburg Unified School District alleges two former students were sexually abused by a prominent coach at Pittsburg High School.

According to a statement released by San Jose-based law firm Corsiglia, McMahon & Allard, the lawsuit alleges former coach and on-campus supervisor Phillip Webb and the school district signed a confidential settlement agreement, which allowed Webb to “quietly retire, effective June of 2022.”

The suit, which was filed Tuesday in Contra Costa County Superior Court, alleges Webb had recently been caught on a school security video camera acting inappropriately with a student. Earlier in 2022, the suit says Webb was reprimanded for “unprofessional” conduct that included kissing a student on her forehead, slapping a student on her buttocks, and transporting students to her home and to a fast-food restaurant.

The former students are identified in the lawsuit as Jane Doe 1 and Jane Doe 2.

The suit says Doe 1 alleges in 2015, Webb gave her a frontal hug, and rubbed her buttocks and lower abdomen in a way that made her feel uncomfortable. Doe 1 reported the inappropriate sexual misconduct to the vice principal.

Webb, according to the lawsuit, admitted to inappropriate behavior, including kissing another student on the cheek. Webb received a written reprimand for the misconduct in 2015 but the suit says the district didn’t report Webb to outside law enforcement or to the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing.

The law firm says it was the third time Webb’s inappropriate behavior came to the attention of district officials. Webb was allegedly told not to hug students in 2007, after a female student and her father reported Webb’s behavior to the school.

The firm also says, during the 2013-2014 school year, a Pittsburg High School teacher complained Webb hugged her in a way that made her feel uncomfortable. Webb was allegedly then told not to hug students or staff.

Jane Doe 2 says in the suit that, in April of 2016, Webb requested to stretch her hamstring and then proceeded to massage and grope her inner thigh and buttocks during track practice. Webb’s behavior was allegedly witnessed by another track coach and reported to the school.

The suit alleges Webb was issued another written reprimand following findings that his behavior constituted unprofessional conduct. Again, Webb was not reported to law enforcement or the CTC.

The suit says, in December of 2019, Webb was issued another written letter of reprimand for allowing a female student to sit on his lap, retaliating against the teacher who reported it, and failing to remove window coverings and partitions in his office after he was directed to do so.

The suit says in January of 2022, Webb was issued another notice of unprofessional conduct for transporting a student to a fast-food restaurant during the lunch period and to her home, kissing her on the forehead, and slapping her on the buttocks.

The suit says, in March of 2022, Webb was placed on paid administrative leave following the discovery of security camera footage showing Webb with his arm tightly around a female student on the steps outside of school during class.

The suit says Webb and the district signed a confidential separation agreement, allowing Webb to retire at the end of the school year. It says Webb was “publicly reproved” by the CTC in May of 2023.

Messages left Wednesday afternoon for district superintendent Janet Schulze weren’t returned.

The complaint asks for unspecified damages for childhood sexual abuse and officially alleges negligent hiring, supervision and/or retention of Webb by district employees; and negligent supervision of plaintiffs by district employees.

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