A former high school student whose teacher, 29-year-old Laura Whitehurst, was sent to jail for sexual abuse charges and became pregnant with the student's child, received a $6 million settlement from the Redlands school district in California. The Los Angeles Times reports that Vince Finaldi, a lawyer for the former high school student, now 21 years old, but was under 18 years old at the time of theabuse, said that the settlement may be one of the largest payouts ever made by a public institution to a single sex abuse victim.
The settlement agreement was reached on Friday, according to the Los Angeles Times, more than three years after Whitehurst was first arrested for sexually abusing three students, all male and under the age of 18 at the time of her arrest.
Finaldi told the Los Angeles Times that the possibly unprecedented settlement is appropriate given the circumstances of the case:
"The size of this settlement represents the gravity of the damage done to this young victim and his family and it also highlights the extreme malfeasance and neglect by school officials who turned a blind eye to the criminal conduct of a teacher and failed to protect a student."
According to the Los Angeles Times, Whitehurst was arrested in July of 2013 on 41 felony sex charges. She took a plea deal that gave her a year in jail, but she served only 6 months and is required to register as a sex offender. The Times further reported that she shares custody of the child with the victim who received the settlement.
The school district has maintained that they were not aware of Whitehurst's crimes while she was teaching, and has stated that the settlement is not an admission of any wrongdoing on the part of the district, according to the Los Angeles Times.