Seattle Public Schools settles sexual abuse lawsuit for $3 million

·2 min read

Seattle Public Schools has agreed to pay $3,000,000 to a student who says she was sexually abused by a former coach and instructional assistant of Ballard High School, according to two law firms who represented the student.

The trial for the case was scheduled to begin June 20.

In a lawsuit filed in December 2020, the student said she was sexually abused by a female soccer coach starting in 2016, when the student was a 15-year-old sophomore at Ballard High School.

The coach was also an instructional assistant at the school, where she was assigned to work with special needs students.

The student said she was abused weekly until 2018, when allegations of her abuse were uncovered. The lawsuit claimed the school district was liable for the sexual abuse because it failed to protect her despite knowing that the coach posed a danger to her and other students.

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Attorneys found the coach was first hired by Seattle Public Schools in 2007 as an assistant girls’ soccer coach and basketball coach at Roosevelt High School.

“During her two-year tenure at Roosevelt, the coach demonstrated what her direct supervisor described as ‘a pattern of predatory behavior’ and repeated boundary violations with students that ultimately led to her termination in 2009,” according to a news release from the law firms Dixon Law Firm PLLC and Pfau Cochran Vertetis Amala PLLC, whose attorneys represented the student.

Though the coach had been previously terminated, Seattle Public Schools rehired her in 2010 to be an assistant girls’ soccer coach at Ballard High School. Her responsibilities expanded in 2015 to include work as an instructional assistant, where she worked with special education students.

After the student in the lawsuit came forward, the coach was arrested and charged with one count of third-degree child molestation and two counts of first-degree sexual misconduct with a minor. The coach was later convicted, jailed, and is now a registered sex offender, according to the news release.