A California school district will pay $15 million to the families of several students molested by a teacher at an elementary school.
NBC Bay Area reports that the parents had sued the Evergreen School District, based in San Jose, after the teacher was convicted in 2013 of sexually abusing five girls, all either 7 or 8 years old. The settlement came in the midst of a civil trial of the lawsuit, just a day before the student victims were scheduled to testify.
Craig Chandler, 36, was found guilty in 2013 of five counts of lewd and lascivious acts on a child under 14. Prosecutors say Chandler blindfolded second-grade students at O.B. Whaley Elementary School in San Jose and made them perform oral sex on him.
The parents of the girls contended in the lawsuit that the Evergreen district ignored evidence that Chandler was abusing students. After the abuse charges came to light, prosecutors also charged the principal of Whaley at the time, Lyn Vijayendran, with failing to report suspected child abuse. Evidence indicated that she was given a vivid account of the abuse of one student, but did not report the alleged incident to authorities. Vijayendran was convicted and placed on two years' probation.
Following the settlement, the district posted this statement on its web site: "We believe the settlement will allow the young women impacted by this man's actions to move forward and heal. The Evergreen School District looks forward to continuing to build a positive future for the families of this community.
Video from NBC Bay Area: