By Steve Gunn
LOS ANGELES – It appears the Los Angeles Unified School District will pay dearly for its failure to protect students from sexually abusive teachers.
A Los Angeles Superior Court jury took five hours Tuesday to rule in favor of a teenage student who was repeatedly molested by his fifth-grade teacher when he was 10-years-old.
The jury awarded the student $6.9 million in damages, which is believed to be the largest award given to a single victim in a molestation case involving the Los Angeles school district, according to a report published by the Daily Mail.
The student, who was enrolled at Queen Anne Elementary, was abused by teacher Forrest Stobbe between 10 and 15 times during the 2008-09 school year and another five times the following summer, according to the news report.
Stobbe pleaded guilty to the crimes in 2011 and was sentenced to 16 years in prison.
The victim’s lawyer told the court that administrators and other staff members at the school failed to act on warnings that could have prevented or limited the sexual abuse. The school district argued that it was not responsible because there was no evidence pointing to wrongdoing.
The legal defeat was not the end of the road for the school district. More than 200 lawsuits have been filed against the district regarding allegations of sexual abuse by former teacher Mark Berndt at Miramonte Elementary School, the news report said.