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Friday, January 17, 2014
OUSD settles abuse lawsuit for $2.75 million
$2.75 million dollar settlement in alleged Taft abuse case
District have confirmed that the six families suing OUSD will settle the Cesar P et al vs Orange Unified civil lawsuit for $2.75 million. The case stems from an alleged April
2012 incident that was widely reported involving former teacher Daniel Lentini. Taft Elementary School
The Orange Unified School Trustees heard information about the case filed in May 2012 against Lentini, Taft Principal Antoniette Coe and 100 "does", and Orange Unified in Closed Session at the OUSD October 24th School Board meeting. Parents alleged that Lentini physically abused special education students in his class. The alleged abuse was first reported by adult aids in the classroom.
The case was investigated by the Orange Police Department. In December of 2012 the Orange County District Attorney's Office decided that there was not enough evidence to file criminal charges. Reportedly, Mr. Lentini is still employed as a teacher by Orange Unified.
The case's General Allegations list as "caused detriment, damage and injury to Plaintiffs". The case lists numerous minor plaintiffs and their guardians.
The lawsuit laid out 5 Causes of Action: 1. Violation of the 1959 Unruh Civil Rights Act ; 2. Violation of US Civil Rights under the 8th and 14th Amendments; 3 Breach of Duty of Care Arising Under Special Relationship; 4, Negligence; and 5; Discrimination on Basis of Disability (Sec 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973).
The civil lawsuit asked from all the defendants general damages, special damages and treble damages. It also seeks punitive damages from Daniel Lentini, as well as all legal fees and "For such other and further damages as provided by law, or such relief as the court may deem just and proper".
The case was scheduled to go to trial this week in Orange County Superior Court, but the lawyer for OUSD presented the settlement agreement to the court.
Under the settlement terms, the OUSD Board of Education will vote to accept the settlement at there February 13th Board Meeting. After filing the approved settlement, the Superior Court then must accept the agreement.
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