October 4, 2023

The Redlands Unified Faculty District has settled for $2.25 million its second sexual abuse lawsuit towards former English instructor, soccer coach and convicted intercourse offender Laura Whitehurst.

The settlement brings to $8.25 million the full quantity paid out to Whitehurst’s victims since her 2013 arrest. In August 2016, the district agreed to pay $6 million to a former Citrus Valley Excessive Faculty scholar who impregnated Whitehust whereas he was a scholar.

The newest lawsuit was filed in January 2021 by a former Redlands Excessive Faculty scholar, now 30, who alleged he was preyed upon and sexually abused on the faculty by Whitehurst in 2007 and 2008, based on the plaintiff’s Irvine lawyer, Morgan Stewart.

“On behalf of our very courageous consumer, we’re happy to get to this decision. It’s unlucky that Redlands Unified pressured him to undergo litigation regardless of figuring out that that they had failed to guard him from a serial pedophile,” Stewart stated in an e-mail Friday. “I might hope they’ve realized their lesson, however given a major variety of further current claims, it’s evident that they haven’t.”

The abuse, based on the lawsuit, started when the plaintiff was 14 years previous. Whitehurst admitted to police in 2013 she had intercourse with him 10 to fifteen instances in her classroom and at her Redlands condo, based on a police report.

Whitehurst subsequently went on to show and coach at Citrus Valley Excessive Faculty, the place she additionally preyed upon male college students, together with the one who impregnated her, previous to her arrest on July 1, 2013. She was subsequently convicted of 4 felony counts of illegal sexual activity and two counts of oral copulation involving three victims. She was sentenced in August 2013 to a yr in county jail.

Whitehurst’s arrest sparked nationwide information protection and was the launching pad for what was to develop into a large scandal that rocked the college district. A 14-month investigation by the Southern California Information Group in 2018 and 2019 revealed a virtually two-decade sample by district academics and directors of protecting up or failing to report back to police complaints of sexual abuse.

The scandal triggered an ongoing investigation by the state Legal professional Common’s Workplace and an investigation by the California Fee on Trainer Credentialing right into a former Clement Center Faculty principal who surrendered her educating credential on Sept. 1 after the fee discovered possible trigger to publicly censure her, information present.

So far, Stewart’s legislation agency, Manly Stewart & Finaldi, has collected greater than $45.5 million from the district to settle sexual abuse lawsuits by former college students, some with allegations courting again greater than 20 years.

In one other, pending lawsuit towards Whitehurst and the district, Stewart represents Whitehurst’s first alleged sufferer, a former scholar at Redlands East Valley Excessive Faculty who’s now 31. Whitehurst is alleged to have engaged in sexual activity and different intercourse acts with the plaintiff in 2007, when he was a freshman.

In her seven-year historical past on the district, allegations of sexual abuse or inappropriate contact with college students trailed Whitehurst from one faculty to a different, based on the Southern California Information Group investigation.

The intercourse abuse scandal prompted sweeping reforms on the district in 2018, however the adjustments didn’t persuade the San Bernardino County Civil Grand Jury in 2022 that college district staff had a agency grasp on their duties and duties as mandated reporters, and nonetheless struggled with their authorized obligation to weed out predators inside their ranks.

Redlands Unified spokesperson Christine Stephens stated in an e-mail Friday that the district was conscious of the current settlement, however couldn’t remark attributable to confidentiality agreements.