A student, now 14 years old, is to be awarded $6.9 million (€5.2 M) in a child molestation case against the Los Angeles Unified School District. As a fifth-grader, the unnamed victim was abused by teacher Forrest Stobbe.Stobbe taught at Queen Anne Place Elementary School in the Mid-Wilshire area. He confessed to two counts of a lewd act on a child and abusing a child under the age of 14, in September 2011, L.A. Times writes. He was found guilty, and sentenced to 16 years in jail.
The school and district came under fire for not taking action against the teacher sooner. The abuse started in October 2008, when the boy was 10 years old. The incidents would occur in his classroom, and the teacher would often give him presents.
Befriending his parents by buying season passes to amusement parks for their son, he managed to be asked to be his godfather. It was when his father suggested it, that the boy came forward.
The victim's family attorney brought to the court's attention that there were previous incidents of abuse, which were never proven, as charges were never filed against Stobbe. A young girl had been spotted alone with him in his car, while another complained he touched her buttocks, in November 2008.
The jury in the case found the school district liable for 30 percent of total damages of $23 million (€17.3 million). The rest of the settlement is to be paid out by Stobbe; however, the family doesn't plan to claim the rest of the money.
"We take our duty to protect our students seriously and are continually looking for ways that we can strengthen our screening and reporting processes to ensure that no child is ever hurt in this way.
"Although we can't change what happened in this case, we remain committed to doing everything in our power to promote healing and improve trust with those impacted," district spokesman, general counsel David Holmquist, says.