California school district to pay $15M in sexual molestation case involving 4 underage girls



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SAN JOSE, California — The families of four girls sexually molested by their second-grade teacher settled a lawsuit for $15 million with a California school district on Monday.

The settlement in Santa Clara County Superior Court with the Evergreen School District follows the 2012 conviction of school teacher Craig Chandler on charges of committing lewd and lascivious acts on a minor.

One family had originally sought $30 million but attorney Bob Allard, who represented the girls' families, says the agreement prevents the girls from testifying again and reliving the trauma.

"Subjecting the girls to further trauma was weighing on their families and that's what motivated the settlement," Allard said.

The families sued Evergreen School District saying it neglected to protect the students by ignoring signs that Chandler was abusing individual students.

In settling the civil suit, the district didn't admit to any wrongdoing.

"We believe the settlement will allow the young women impacted by this man's actions to move forward and heal," the school district said in a brief statement.

Chandler was convicted of molesting five girls at San Jose's O.B. Whaley Elementary School. Prosecutors said Chandler kept the 7- and 8-year-old students in his classroom during recess and put blindfolds on them while pretending to play a feel-and-touch game. The girls testified in court about feeling something inserted into their mouths.

Chandler, 36, was sentenced to 75 years to life in prison.

The family of one of the five girls reached a settlement with the school district last year, Allard said.

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