A freshman in a St Lucie County School was repeatedly sexually abused by her English teacher on campus and during school hours. The school district had notice the teacher was acting sexually inappropriately with numerous girls 2 years earlier, but decided to handle the matter internally and deliberately broke Florida law by failing to report suspected child abuse to the Department of Children and Families and the police. The teacher then became more brazen with his abuse and sexually abused 7 more girls.
This time the police were notified by a parent. The school district had already approved the teacher’s “medical leave”. Had the parent not gone directly to the police, the school district would have been able to bury the allegations, and teacher would have been able to transfer to another school to teach without being caught. The teacher was eventually convicted and sentenced to consecutive life sentences. Gloria Seidule obtained evidence proving the school district knew of the sexual abuse and acted with deliberate indifference to the safety of the children in its care.
Florida law provides immunity to school districts and caps damages, regardless of the severity, at $200,000. It is extremely rare to get a recovery for a client over this damage cap. However, GloriaLaw successfully presented evidence to support 1983 and Title IX federal causes of action, eliminating the damage caps and obtaining a $325,000 settlement.
The client has now graduated high school and is heading to college. She bravely endured a criminal trial and civil litigation to pursue justice so that other children in St Lucie County would not be exposed to sexual predators posing as teachers in the school system.