Thursday, May 28, 2015

LA Unified School District Pays $4.2 Settlement in Sex Abuse Case

Apparently, the payouts keep rolling out for the Los Angeles Unified School District as it relates to civil litigation alleging sexual abuse by students of school teachers and other employees.  The latest settlement is $4.42 Million paid to three former students of Telfair Elementary School.  The allegations in this case were that former teacher, Paul Chapel, sexually molested these students and that LAUSD was negligent in their supervision of this employee.

This is the second settlement related to Telfair Elementary.  LAUSD reached an approximate $5 Million settlement with several other students about a year ago.

The lawsuits alleged that the teacher in question had been accused of molesting a child at his Ventura County, CA home prior to any of the school incidents. He was placed in an administrative position with LAUSD pending a criminal prosecution for the Ventura incident.  The jury in the criminal case could not reach a verdict and the teacher was then allowed back into the classroom setting.

Unfortunately, no amount of money can ever replace a childhood or repair the emotional scars caused by child abuse.  However, this litigation has served to remove an alleged child molester from having access to kids and will serve as a stark reminder to LAUSD to be more cautious in whom they hire or continue to employ in the future.  This case shows the power of the civil justice system to have a positive effect when the criminal justice system is, for whatever reason, unable to effectuate justice.

Based upon California procedures regarding civil settlements for minor victims, a hearing will need to be held to approve these latest settlements.  Upon approval, the funds are placed in a blocked account which cannot be accessed by anyone other than the minor and only after the victim turns 18.