A judge is scheduled Monday to consider a $2.1 million settlement that Los Angeles Unified reached with a 17-year-old plaintiff who alleges she was sexually abused by her third-grade teacher at a Pacoima elementary school during the 2010-11 school year.
Lawyers for the girl filed court papers earlier this month with Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Samantha Jessner, whose approval is needed for the resolution because the plaintiff is a minor.
The teen alleges she was molested by teacher Paul Chapel while she was a student at Telfair Elementary School. The LAUSD previously reached settlements with other plaintiffs who similarly alleged they were abused by Chapel, including 12 who agreed to a collective $30 million settlement in May 2016.
The plaintiff in the current case is identified in her suit only as Jane RH Doe. She submitted a sworn declaration in support of the settlement in which she gave a detailed account of the abuses she alleges she suffered in Chapel’s classroom during the 2010-11 school year, when she was 8 years old.
“While I was in Chapel’s class, Chapel frequently tickled me beneath my shirt, skin to skin,” she said. “This would lead to Chapel lifting my shirt to then kissing my exposed bare skin all over, including on my stomach.”
The plaintiff said she remembers Chapel’s beard rubbing against her skin and how he lifted her by the waist before kissing her in the face.
“Whenever Chapel would approach me to check my work or assist me with classroom work or answer a question, Chapel would require me to sit in his lap,” she said.
She says that she struggles with depression and has trouble trusting adults, especially men, because of what happened to her, which has caused her problems at school as well as at home relating to her parents.
“Reflecting on my abuse, or seeing something that reminds me of Chapel, makes me angry, makes me feel as though I should have done something to stop it, and makes me angry at the school for not keeping Chapel away from me,” she said.
The LAUSD also reached settlements of $2.1 million each last July with another plaintiff in the suit, Jane JM Doe, who is now 18 years old, as well as with the adult plaintiff in a separate case, John AA Doe, who’s now 20 years old.