The Riverside (Calif.) Unified School District has agreed to pay $6.2 million to settle a lawsuit against a technology aide accused of molesting three elementary school students.
The Riverside Press-Enterprise reports that Fernando Figueroa, who remains on unpaid administrative leave from Liberty Elementary School in Riverside, was accused of molesting girls when they were 9 and 10 years old.
The suit contended the school district failed to conduct an adequate background check that would have uncovered previous sexual misconduct allegations against Figueroa, and that the district failed to investigate several complaints about his inappropriate behavior.
“This settlement reflects the severe harm done to our clients and the gross misconduct of the Riverside Unified School District and their employees,” said a statement from Saul Wolf, an attorney who represented the victims. “The district engaged in a corrupt scheme to hide the facts about sexual abuse from law enforcement and the public. This must never be allowed to happen again.”
Attorneys for the girls also alleged that the school district destroyed evidence, falsified records, and withheld records on Figueroa to cover up the sexual abuse.
Figueroa was charged on Aug. 21, 2017, with eight felonies in connection with the sexual abuse of four Liberty Elementary students from February 2016 through February 2017. He is being held in jail on a $3 million bond.
On Friday, Nov. 30, a grand jury indicted Figueroa on 25 felony counts involving 11 alleged victims, including the four children from the earlier charges.