LOS ANGELES, Oct. 29, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- A Los Angeles jury returned a $6.2 million verdict against the Los Angeles Unified School District for negligently hiring, supervising and retaining a teacher who sexually abused two boys at Telfair Elementary School.
The teacher, Paul Chapel III, is currently serving a 25-year prison sentence for molesting 13 children including the plaintiffs.
LA Unified had accepted liability for their negligence but argued that the trauma suffered by the victims was partially caused by their tough Pacoima neighborhoods, their learning disabilities and the deaths of family members rather than their sexual abuse.
An expert witness hired by the District, Janine Shelby, Associate Professor at the Harbor UCLA Medical Center, told jurors that research suggests that half of trauma victims recover within three months. The victims testified that they have suffered flashbacks and nightmares for years.
"The jury verdict in this case should send a strong message to LAUSD," said John Manly, an attorney for the boys. "Their legal strategy of blaming and shaming child sex abuse victims has got to end now. The architect of this morally repugnant strategy, LAUSD General Counsel David Holmquist should be replaced," said Manly.
Last week LAUSD terminated the employment of W. Keith Wyatt an attorney that argued in another high profile sex abuse case that a 14-year-old girl was partially to blame when her 28-year-old math teacher had sex with her.
The School Board is also searching for a new Superintendent of Schools.
"LAUSD needs new leadership, new attorneys and a new direction," said Vince Finaldi, another attorney for the victims. "They need a new Superintendent and a new General Counsel who will stop the District's systemic cover-up of sex crimes against students," Finaldi said.
Manly, Stewart and Finaldi is California's leading law firm representing child victims of sexual abuse. The firm has represented more than 150 victims of clergy sexual abuse in California and hundreds of others throughout the United States. The firm also represented plaintiffs in the $140,000,000 settlement against LAUSD in the Miramonte case, the largest sex abuse settlement against a School District in the U.S.
SOURCE Manly, Stewart & Finaldi