Michael Pfau, Steven Reich, Vincent Nappo and Benjamin Watson reached a $3.9 million settlement with the Tahoma School District on behalf of a former student who was sexually abused by a paraeducator employed by the district.
The plaintiff was a student between 5 to 7 years old when he was sexually abused by the paraeducator, Bryan Neyers, while participating in the district’s Extended Enrichment Program. Neyers was arrested and charged in 2020 and is awaiting a criminal trial, scheduled to begin July 25. For several years before his arrest, the school district received numerous reports from parents, students and staff regarding Neyers’ inappropriate behavior with students yet failed to take action.
“The Tahoma School District had ample opportunity to remove Bryan Neyers from its schools and protect its students,” said Michael Pfau. “Unfortunately, the district repeatedly ignored the warning signs and continued to employ Bryan Neyers as its paraeducator – a position he used to sexually abuse the plaintiff and other students until he was finally arrested in April 2020.”
Despite mounting evidence of “grooming-like behavior,” Neyers was allowed to remain in his position, providing him unrestricted access to children until the day of his arrest, a frustrating reality for the many who witnessed his inappropriate behavior.
“We spoke with a number of the complaining individuals, and they expressed deep frustration with the district’s inaction,” said Steven Reich. “They knew what Bryan Neyers was doing was inappropriate and tried to notify the district, only to be disregarded time and time again.”
Media coverage about the settlement:
Tahoma School District settles sexual abuse lawsuit for $3.9 million, Seattle Times, 7/12/23
Tahoma School District settles sexual abuse lawsuit for $3.9 million, The Spokesman-Review, 7/12/23
District settles sexual abuse lawsuit, Fox 13 Seattle, 7/12/23