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San Francisco district will pay $4.5 million to settle sexual abuse lawsuit

March 4, 2024
2 female high school students alleged they were abused between 2012 and 2016 by their school's athletic director.

The San Francisco Unified School District has agreed to pay $4.5 million to settle a lawsuit brought by two former students who said they had been sexually abused by a high school athletic director.

The San Francisco Chronicle reports that the two women, whose names were not disclosed, contended that they were abused while attending George Washington High School between 2012 and 2016. 

Their lawsuit alleged that the director, Lawrence Young-Yet Chan, groomed the girls between 2012 and 2016 by buying them lunch and gifts, driving them to and from school, letting them drive his car and "stretching their bodies (including their legs and thighs)" while touching them.

One of the students alleged that Chan raped her multiple times, according to their lawsuit. The other woman alleged he fondled her and forced her to perform oral sex.

In the lawsuit, one of the students said she reported Chan to police in 2017 and that he was arrested but released because of a lack of evidence.

The former students assert that Chan was then allowed to "quietly resign" as part of a confidential settlement.

“We hope that by shining light on the harm caused to victims of sexual abuse that school districts across California will err on the side of caution and make protection of students a priority over the protection of educators and a district’s image,” said the women's attorney, Lauren Cerri.

In court filings prior to the settlement, lawyers for the district denied the former students' claims, saying that district officials responded appropriately once they learned about Chan's misconduct.

About the Author

Mike Kennedy | Senior Editor

Mike Kennedy has been writing about education for American School & University since 1999. He also has reported on schools and other topics for The Chicago Tribune, The Kansas City Star, The Kansas City Times and City News Bureau of Chicago. He is a graduate of Michigan State University.

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