Two women who alleged they were sexually abused by a teacher at a San Francisco Bay Area school reached a $14 million settlement with the district.
David Ring, the women’s attorney, said they will each receive $7 million under the deal reached on Monday with the Moraga School District. Moraga is about 20 miles east of San Francisco.
The district said in a statement the money will come from its insurer.
The women alleged in a lawsuit that they were abused by Daniel Witters, a science teacher at Joaquin Moraga Intermediate School, in the 1990s when one was 14 and the other between 12 and 13. They said the district failed to report a previous allegation of sex abuse against Witters to police and did not act on other allegations of misconduct against him, allowing him to continue abusing students.
The district subsequently covered up its failure to report Witters’ alleged abuse, the lawsuit contended.
“The conduct of the administration back in the ’90s was nothing short of outrageous and egregious, and that explains why you’re seeing this $14 million settlement,” said Ring, of Los Angeles-based Taylor & Ring.
Witters was never charged criminally. He killed himself in 1996 after one of the women reported him.
District Superintendent Bruce Burns apologized to the women in a statement and said the district has implemented a strict abuse reporting policy.
“We want to again apologize to these women and to their families for the pain that was inflicted on them by former staff of the district,” Burns said. “It is our hope that this settlement will allow these women to continue to heal and will help them and their families move forward.”
The district has also settled another lawsuit stemming from alleged abuse by Witters for nearly $2 million.
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