LOS ANGELES – A judge has approved a nearly $1 million settlement in favor of a 15-year-old girl in a lawsuit brought on her behalf against the Rowland Unified School District, in which she alleged a teacher sexually abused her.
Los Angeles Superior Court Barbara M. Scheper gave her nod to the accord during a hearing Monday. The RUSD will pay $950,000 with about $495,000 being allocated to the girl, identified only as Jane RPV Doe, in an annuity after attorneys’ fees and other expenses are deducted. Defense attorneys denied any wrongdoing on the part of the district.
According to the suit, Doe was sexually abused, harassed, and molested by a teacher at Hurley Elementary School from September 2015 through February 2018 on school grounds, including the teacher’s classroom and in the campus computer lab.
The abuses included rubbing and groping Doe in a sexual manner as well as hugging and kissing her, her court papers stated.
The district was allegedly at fault in part for what happened to Doe because of the school administration’s alleged inaction and because the teacher was not properly trained and supervised, according to the girl’s court papers.
“In fact, defendants’ conduct made it a virtual certainty that plaintiff and other minors would be victimized,” Doe’s court papers alleged.
The alleged abuses have caused Doe to have difficulty in reasonably or meaningfully interacting with others, including those in positions of authority, as well as in intimate, confidential, and familial relationships, Doe’s court papers stated.
“This inability to interact creates conflict with plaintiff’s values of trust and confidence in others and has caused plaintiff substantial emotional distress, anxiety, nervousness and fear,” Doe’s court papers state.
In their court papers, attorneys for the district stated that Doe did not allege any conduct by the district that was directed at her, but instead claimed the RUSD had or should have had prior notice of the teacher’s alleged dangerous propensities and still did not prevent him from committing abuses.
“Essentially, the plaintiff is seeking to argue that the district’s inaction constituted the affirmative act of ratification,” the district lawyers argued in their court papers. “This is wholly insufficient to establish ratification.”