California School Settles Daniel Witters Abuse Suit for $14 Million

Nation’s Largest Molestation Settlement Per Student

California School District Pays $14 Million to Settle Daniel Witters Abuse LawsuitsschoolCalifornia’s Moraga School District has agreed to pay two women $14 million to settle sexual abuse lawsuits involving biology teach Daniel Witters, who later committed suicide.

According to the Contra Costa Times, “The hefty settlement — two other victims received $4.65 million last year — is the price of the district’s utter failure to investigate and report allegations of biology teacher Daniel Witters’ behavior to authorities in the 1990s. Newly uncovered documents show more officials knew about those allegations than has previously been disclosed, and three were secretly reprimanded while the district assured the community administrators acted appropriately.”

It wasn’t until 2012 when the Costa Times paper reported on the cover-up and was able to link Witters’ behavior and the school administration’s knowledge of his criminal behavior. The Times wrote, “At the time, district officials assuaged angry parents by telling them Witters had no earlier reports of sexual abuse. New information obtained by this newspaper make clear it was a lie. In 1994, a female student wrote a letter describing in detail sexual abuse at the hands of Witters dating back four years earlier; district internal documents show Walters, Simonin and Cooley all knew about the letter but no one reported it to police. In fact, Ring said, the girl called the school office a week after sending the letter to make sure Walters received it and was told he was ‘busy.’ Further reports of sexual abuse in 1995 were also ignored. State law requires school employees to immediately report any suspicions of child abuse to authorities.”
The large settlement reflects the gross negligence of the school administration as well as their attempts to cover-up the teacher’s crimes against children.

As we’ve seen in the sex abuse cases involving the Boy Scouts, the Mormon Church, and the Catholic Church, it is always the institutional cover-up and their protection of abusers that enrages communities and juries.

Dumas Law Group has law offices in Portland, Oregon and serves clients in Oregon, Washington, Idaho, and other states.

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