Gary Shafer

A Call for Witnesses: Survivors of Sexual Predator Gary Shafer

Gary Shafer was a bus driver who sexually abused young children while working for the Olympia School District in Washington State between 2005 and 2011.

In 2011, Shafer was convicted of sexually abusing three girls and possessing child pornography. During the criminal proceedings, he confessed to molesting at least 25 young girls and special needs children. So far, only a few survivors have come forward.

PCVA has secured settlements with the school district for Gary Shafer abuse survivors and is urging others to come forward.

What school bus routes did Gary Shafer drive?

Gary Shafer is a convicted child molester who is currently serving 14.5 years to life in prison. Between 2005 and 2011, he worked as a bus driver for Olympia School District. He worked on many bus routes for the district, including several elementary, middle and high schools. He also drove or rode along midday routes for pre-K, kindergarten and special needs students.

The district has provided a history of Shafer’s bus routes but notes that it may be incomplete, since early-career drivers often serve as substitutes for other drivers on various routes and drivers may ride along on other buses to learn new routes or help with management. Therefore, the entire extent of where Shafer had access to children is unknown.

Who is responsible for Gary Shafer’s crimes?

Gary Shafer committed the crimes, but responsibility also rests with the institution that allowed him access to young children.

PCVA has sued the Olympia School District on behalf of several victims. In a case that resulted in a $7.5 million settlement for two survivors, the Washington Supreme Court decided that a school district is strictly liable for sexual misconduct, including physical abuse and assault.

Ultimately, school districts are responsible for keeping children safe when those children are in their care.

I was abused by Shafer, but it was long ago and I was a child. Can I still sue?

Yes. In Washington State, victims of childhood sexual abuse can file lawsuits against perpetrators and responsible organizations many years later, even as adults.

Like many sexual abusers, Shafer groomed his young victims, veiling his assaults as play or tickling, according to witness statements. This can be confusing for children, who feel that they were violated but may not understand or be able to express how. Experts recognize that survivors of childhood sexual abuse may not realize that they were abused until adulthood, long after the incidents occurred. However, survivors may suffer emotional and psychological trauma despite not recognizing the cause.

Lawmakers understand that survivors may suffer harm but not understand its cause for long afterward. Therefore, the statute of limitations law in Washington provides survivors three years to file a lawsuit from the time they discover the connection between the abuse and the harm — not from the time the abuse occurred. This connection may not be discovered until years or even decades after the incident itself.

Can a parent sue on behalf of a child?

Yes. The experienced attorneys at PCVA have worked with hundreds of families to seek damages for sexual abuse in a wide range of cases. Our attorneys use a trauma-informed approach to their legal counsel and rely on trauma-informed experts to help build the case. Our goal is to help survivors and their families recover damages from the institutions that failed to protect them from sexual abuse so they can begin to heal.

How can sexual abuse survivors seek damages?

Our attorneys have been involved in some of the most complicated and concerning sexual abuse cases in the country and are often consulted by other law firms for guidance and expertise when representing sexual abuse survivors. We take a trauma-informed approach to our counsel that acknowledges the sensitive facts of the case and the vulnerability of our clients.

Every case is different and results – which depend on the facts of the case – cannot be guaranteed. However, we will fight to hold accountable the institutions and individuals who failed to protect survivors. Through our efforts, we have helped recover hundreds of millions of dollars in damages on behalf of abuse survivors. While no amount of monetary compensation can erase the trauma of abuse, the financial assistance can help pay for necessary expenses to allow the healing process to begin.

If you or someone you know has experienced sexual abuse or assault at the hands of Gary Shafer, our attorneys are here to listen and help. Learn more about how we help sexual abuse survivors or schedule a no obligation consultation with one of our lawyers by completing our intake form or by calling us at (253) 948-3199 or (206) 536-2850. 

How much do you charge?

Our work is done on a contingency basis. This means that if your case reaches a favorable settlement or verdict, we collect a portion of the amount.

Our Case Results

$25M Settlement Reached in Olympia Early Learning Center Sex Abuse Lawsuit
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$4.9M Settlement Reached in Toutle River Boys Ranch Sex Abuse Lawsuit
$4.2M Settlement Reached in Coach Sexual Abuse Case Against University Place School District
$2M Settlement Reached in Green Hill School Sex Abuse Lawsuit