Articles Posted in Sexual Abuse Lawsuit Results

The sexual abuse lawsuit brought forth by Olympian Ariana Kukors Smith has been resolved nearly two years after Mrs. Kukors Smith filed the action. The monetary settlement reached by USA Swimming’s insurance companies and Mrs. Kukors Smith will allow the 2012 Olympian to re-focus on the sport that she loves and to begin healing.

“I am glad that we were able to come to a resolution to this difficult process. As I begin the next chapter of my life, I hope that these last two years, along with the efforts of so many others, will help to provide athletes with a safer environment in which to compete,” Mrs. Kukors Smith said.

USA Swimming added the following: Throughout this process, Mrs. Kukors Smith has shown incredible strength and bravery and offered a powerful voice to all survivors. In sharing her story, Mrs. Kukors Smith thrust the very important subject matter of sexual abuse within youth serving organizations into focus and furthered important dialogue about the continued need for robust athlete protection policies and strong athlete and parent education.

The lawsuit was filed by the law firm of Cerri, Boskovich & Allard on behalf of a victim of Wrestling Coach and Youth Group Leader Kevin Lopez.

The law firm of Cerri, Boskovich & Allard is announcing a $1.548 million settlement resulting from sexual abuse committed by convicted wrestling coach and youth group leader Kevin Lopez. Attorney Lauren Cerri represented the victim in his lawsuit against both the San Ramon Valley Unified School District and New Life Church of Alamo.

The lawsuit alleged that one year before Lopez was arrested, the administration at California High School in the San Ramon Valley Unified School District violated mandatory reporting laws by failing to report suspected sexual abuse and by conducting its own investigation after receiving two complaints about Lopez’s sexual improprieties. The District agreed to settle the case against it for $699,000.

Two youth soccer organizations, with a major presence in the San Francisco Bay Area, are conducting background checks on coaches. This follows a record-setting $8.2 million settlement for a young girl sexually molested by her youth soccer league coach.

“This is why we represent child sex abuse victims,” said Attorney Robert Allard. “The money will provide the young victim with the means to survive the lifelong effects of childhood sexual abuse while at the same time forcing youth sports organizations to protect kids better,” added Allard.

In May of 2011, West Valley Youth Soccer League coach Emanuele Fabrizio sexually abused a 12-year-old player. After pleading no contest to the sexual abuse charges, Fabrizio is serving 15 years in prison.

Over the years, several school districts enacted “board policies” to bypass the law, which allows child sex abuse victims until the age of 26 to file a lawsuit. The law recognizes that children are sometimes in a better position to file a claim when they reach adulthood. However, many school districts are looking for loopholes to evade responsibility when they fail to protect children from sexual abuse.

Recognizing that school districts were trying to bypass the law, attorney Robert Allard enlisted the help of State Senator Jim Beall. As a result, the state’s Legislative Counsel reiterated that school districts must follow the law and may not adopt policies or procedures to deny child sexual abuse victims a right to justice. The Legislative Counsel is a nonpartisan public agency that drafts legislative proposals, prepares legal opinions, and provides other confidential legal services to the Legislature and others.

The legislative intent of the law, CCP § 340.1, provides that child sex abuse victims are exempt from the so-called government claims act. The act states that one must first give written notice within six months of the injury or discovery of the damage before filing an actual lawsuit in a California superior court, giving the governmental agency time to settle the claim. School districts were trying to use this law to override CCP § 340.1. But the Legislative Counsel is firm in stating that school districts “may not adopt a claim presentation procedure with respect to claims for damages suffered as a result of childhood sexual abuse.”

As students head back to school, the San Jose law firm of Cerri, Boskovich & Allard is reminding parents about the dangers of sexual abuse by educators. back-to-schoolThe firm is announcing a $1.2 million settlement in a sexual abuse lawsuit filed against a San Jose charter school.

The case involved a high school teacher who sexually abused one of his students and a principal who was directly and expressly notified about the illegal relationship but did not notify the authorities as required by law, instead choosing to investigate himself.

The California mandatory reporting law mandates that an educator report to the authorities any time he or she entertains a reasonable suspicion of sexual abuse. That was not done here. Instead, it took a complaint from a concerned parent to trigger involvement by the police which promptly resulted in an arrest.

As part of the $8.25 million settlement with three child sex abuse victims, the Morgan Hill Unified School District is also moving forward in implementing and supporting programs aimed at preventing the sexual abuse of students.

The law firm of Cerri, Boskovich & Allard announced that the Morgan Hill Unified School District agreed to pay $8.25 million to three then-elementary school students sexually abused by former teacher John Loyd. At the same time, complying with the wishes of the victims’ parents, the district is also moving forward to carry out child sexual abuse prevention programs.

The agreement was reached as jury selection was about to start in the sexual abuse lawsuit (case #115CV285795 – Santa Clara County Superior Court) against the school district. The three children were represented by attorneys Robert Allard, Lauren Cerri, Ken Turek, and Christopher Schumb.


Administrative negligence harms innocent O.B. Whaley molestation victims

This case started with a single victim. In January 2012, authorities arrested Craig Chandler on suspicion of molesting a young child at O.B. Whaley Elementary School, where he had worked as a teacher for nine years. As the investigation proceeded, it became clear that he had molested five girls going back to 2010. The jury sentenced Chandler to 75 years in prison. Moreover, O.B. Whaley’s principal, Lyn Vijayendran, who was told of Chandler’s inappropriate behavior but failed to notify police or Child Protective Services, was sentenced to six months in jail.

Attorney Robert Allard of Cerri, Boskovich & Allard led the litigation team against the Evergreen Elementary School District. By preparing an airtight case against the District, Mr. Allard’s team persuaded the District to pay $15 million to the victims for the lifelong harm they are to endure. At the same time, the settlement prevented the poor victims from having to relive their trauma in a courtroom. Allard knew that the Evergreen School District was clearly at fault—that the principal of O.B. Whaley had been previously made aware of Chandler’s inappropriate behavior with students, and had even been observed engaging in inappropriate acts by other teachers, yet the principal had taken no action. Hence the extraordinarily large amount of the settlement.


What happens when a child receives money from a legal settlement?

Whenever a young child receives a financial settlement, the potential for financial fraud exists. Minors don’t have the same rights as adults when it comes to sex abuse settlements. And they cannot enter into any agreements on their own. As a result, this means that they can’t bring lawsuits, make settlement decisions, open bank or investment accounts, fund annuities, or purchase real estate. As a result, a competent adult must perform these acts on the minor’s behalf.

Thankfully, the courts in California supervise sex abuse settlements made to minors. Furthermore, court orders are necessary to approve all forms of sex abuse settlements with minor plaintiffs.

Justice for Audrie Pott and Her Family

Audrie Pott was just 15 years old when she was sexually assaulted. She was then photographed and humiliated at school by her assailants. Audrie Pott took her life eight days later. After waiting seven months for law enforcement to charge the assailants, the parents of Audrie Pott turned to attorney Robert Allard. Mr. Allard filed a civil lawsuit against the assailants and their families.

The civil lawsuit and the publicity surrounding Audrie’s sexual assault and suicide led to two significant changes in the law and a public apology from the assailants. The San Jose Mercury News reported that the civil case did a “service to the broader public” by “reminding us of the courts’ ability to bring clarity to societal issues-and the value of individuals who take grievances public in ways that help shift the course of history toward a truer justice.”

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