Partner Vincent Nappo, associate Benjamin Watson, and co-counsel Ashton Dennis of the Washington Law Center reached a $4.2 million settlement for their clients in a sexual abuse suit against University Place School District.
The perpetrator, David O’Connor, had been convicted of two counts of indecent liberties against minors by the Lewis County Superior Court before he was hired. The school district failed to properly check O’Connor’s background when he applied for the coaching job. Despite his criminal history, he was hired in 2000 as a wrestling coach, a role that provided him with unrestricted access to children.
“While we are glad the district has agreed to compensate a group of these victims, we are looking forward to uncovering systemic failures in what led to this hiring,” said Vincent.
This settlement involved six prior student athletes; three additional victims are still in litigation and their case is set for trial in May.
Media coverage about the settlement:
The News Tribune, “Men who alleged abuse by former Curtis wrestling coach will get millions from district”
KIRO7, “University Place School District to pay $4.25M to students in sexual abuse cases“
Fox13, “University Place SD to pay $4.2M to student victims after hiring coach convicted for sexual abuse”