The city of Sacramento and Sacramento City Unified School District will pay more than $52 million to settle a lawsuit after officials were accused of ignoring parental complaints regarding a teachers aide who eventually admitted to molesting students as young as seven years old, according to the Associated Press.
In 2016, Joshua Vasquez, a former teachers aide at Mark Twain Elementary School, was sentenced to 150 years in prison after he admitted to sexually abusing at least eight elementary kids within a classroom, according to the Associated Press. As a part of the settlement, $40 million will be divided among five victims, with about $12.5 million going to a sixth victim.
“The Sacramento City Unified School District treats student and staff safety as its highest priority and is committed to making any changes that are necessary for their protection and well-being,” the school district said in a statement to the Sacramento Bee. “In addition, the district offers its deepest sympathy to the victims of these despicable crimes and will continue to support their well-being as possible.
The lawsuit against the school and the city alleged that parents complained several times to administrators about Vasquez, but their concerns were ignored, the Sacramento Bee reported.
A parent complained to school officials multiple times about Vaquez giving the child candy and “a secret place and a prize box” if the student was “helping out” Vasquez, the outlet reported. When asked where the candy was coming from, the child would tell the parent that it was a “secret.”
The city will pay 60% of the settlement and the district will cover the rest, the AP reported. Since the lawsuit, the Sacramento City Unified School District has amended its practices to require more teacher training and prevent educators from being alone in a classroom with a child.
“These children are going to be living with what has been imprinted into their hard drive, into their brain, the mistrust of adults and the violation that they didn’t even know could happen,” Roger Dreyer, an attorney for some of the victims, told the Sacramento Bee.
Sacramento’s public information office and the Sacramento City Unified School District did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.
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