Partners Darrell Cochran and Kevin Hastings, along with associate Bridget Grotz, accepted a judgment offer of more than $333,000 for two plaintiffs in a sexual abuse lawsuit against Walla Walla School District. The firm represented both the abuse survivor, who was a student in the Walla Walla School District, as well as her mother.
Between 2015 and 2016, the student, who was only 12 years old at the time, was sexually harassed and abused by her school’s band teacher Michael Jones. As the employer of Mr. Jones, Walla Walla Public Schools should have known that he was a sexual predator and that the risk to students was significant. In fact, the district allegedly received complaints from students regarding Mr. Jones’ predatory behavior but did not take proper action. Because of the school district’s failure to protect its own students from this sexual predator, the plaintiff suffered abuse and resulting damages.
Although the district conducted an investigation in 2008 following complaints of sexually predatory behavior from several mothers and young girls, it did not terminate Mr. Jones. Instead, it concluded the allegations were unsubstantiated and allowed him to retain his position, providing him with further opportunities to abuse young female students.
Hopefully by holding Walla Walla Public Schools accountable, the district will take proper action in the future to protect students, preventing others from having to suffer the same abuse as the plaintiff.
Additional media coverage on the Walla Walla School District sexual abuse lawsuit.