Plaintiffs were four boys who were sexually abused by their fourth grade teacher. The perpetrator-teacher (a male) taught at the defendant School District from 1997-1999. During that time, he molested two of the plaintiffs who were in his fourth grade class.
The teacher left the school district in June 1999 and gained employment at another school district in September. In January 2000, several boys in his fourth grade class complained of improper touching by the teacher.
The Sheriff’s Department investigated the teacher and ultimately arrested him for child sexual abuse. In 2002, he was convicted and sentenced to 24 years in prison.
Plaintiffs pursued two theories against the defendant School District. First, as to the two boys who were students within the District, plaintiffs contended that the District was negligent in its supervision and retention of the teacher. The District and the elementary school principal received many complaints about inappropriate behavior by the teacher, including repeated instances of him being in his classroom with the door closed with a single boy.
Second, plaintiffs contended that defendant School District committed fraud when it provided false written and verbal recommendations for the teacher after forcing him to resign in the wake of the many complaints.
Plaintiffs contended that the District reached a secret deal with the teacher: if he resigned quietly, the District would provide him with a glowing letter of recommendation and positive verbal recommendations.
The teacher used the false recommendations to gain employment at another school district, where he sexually abused the four other plaintiffs, who were boys in his class.
Kelli Burritt was an associate at another law firm when this case was litigated. She performed extensive discovery on the case.
RESULT: $6,800,000 settlement