School Board approves $3.6 million settlement
PALM BEACH COUNTY, Fla. (CBS 12) —
Justice and payback for four former students molested by their teacher years ago.
The Palm Beach County School Board voted unanimously Wednesday night to pay them nearly $4,000,000.
Four 9-year-old girls, now young women, say they went through a terrifying and traumatic experience as 3rd graders.
It appears their long legal dispute with the school district is finally over.
“We’re pleased because our clients have finally gotten the justice that they deserve,” said Marc Wites, attorney for the four victims.
Four young women, who were molested when they were 9 years old by their teacher, will get a $3.6 million settlement from the Palm Beach County School District.
“The settlement we did tonight was absolutely appropriate,” said Chuck Shaw, Palm Beach County School Board chairman.
Their teacher, Blake Sinrod, molested them when they were 3rd graders at Coral Sunset Elementary in 2005.
Sinrod lost his job and pleaded guilty to child abuse in 2006.
The girls’ parents sued the school district for negligence.
The school district’s outside attorney in a sense blamed the 9-year-old victims, and used the defense of comparative negligence, saying in court documents “plaintiffs were old enough to appreciate the consequences of their own actions and to be held accountable for them.”
The documents also say: “plaintiffs conducted themselves in a careless and negligent manner.”
School board members say this defense was used without their knowledge and they’re appalled.
“This will never ever happen again,” said Frank Barbieri, Jr., Palm Beach County School Board member.
“We cannot ever blame the children,” said Marcia Andrews, Palm Beach County School Board member.
“We are going to work harder to make sure that our legal strategy in these cases more closely aligns with the values of this school board and this community,” said Dale Friedman, outside attorney for the Palm Beach County School District.
The four victims, who are now about 21 years old, did not attend the school board meeting Wednesday night.
According to Wites, each woman will get $895,000 and attorney’s fees and legal costs will be subtracted from that amount.