Whittier : Teacher Gets Libel Damages

A Norwalk Superior Court jury has awarded a Rio Hondo Community College teacher $64,900 in damages stemming from his demotion in 1981 from administrator to instructor.

Alberto Carrillo, 52, filed a libel suit against the college, its former President Milo P. Johnson, and former college Trustee William Lassleben, for statements and allegations about his job performance made at the time of his reassignment. In a college news release distributed to the press in November, 1981, Carrillo was accused of "serious mismanagement" while running the special services branch of the Extended Opportunity and Services Program.

Carrillo, a philosophy and logic teacher, said the college and board of trustees conspired against him by not notifying him that his department was under investigation. The jury awarded Carrillo $64,900 in special and general damages. Lassleben was also ordered to pay Carrillo $3,250 in punitive damages for specific remarks Lassleben made to the press about the demotion.

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