L.A. School District to Pay $6 Million to Abuse Victims

Paul Chapel, who had taught at the district since 1988, was convicted of committing lewd acts with 13 students.

The Los Angeles Unified School District was ordered to pay $6 million to two students who were sexually abused by their elementary school teacher five years ago.

The district had settled out of court with the rest of the teacher’s 11 victims, but argued it should only pay $490,000 in damages to the two victims in this week’s case, according to the New York Times.

The man convicted of lewd acts with 13 students, Paul Chapel, was a third grade teacher at Telfair Elementary School in Pacoima, Calif., when he committed the crimes. Chapel is currently serving a 25-year prison sentence.

The district admitted fault in the two boys’ trial but argued the victims’ trauma was due to their learning disabilities and the deaths of their fathers rather than the sexual abuse. Chapel’s class was designed for students with “learning differences” such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

Chapel had been arrested in 1997 because of allegations he had sexually abused a neighbor’s son, but education officials reinstated his teaching credentials because the case resulted in a hung jury. Chapel had worked in the school district since 1988.

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