Parents send their kids to school to receive a good education. They expect that the school will not only teach them but be a safe environment for their kids to learn. Unfortunately, sometimes this is not the case and abuse may occur by a teacher or school administrator. In a recent lawsuit, two girls claimed that they were molested by physical education teacher, Abdol Hossein Mehrdadi. According to the case, the school had policies and training in development for teaching young students as well as their staff how to identify and respond to cases of molestation. However, the school district never followed through with this plan. One juror stated that, “They set the standards, but they didn’t spend any money to have those standards met. In particular, they said they were going to do age-appropriate training for kindergarten through third grade on what to do about molestation, and they completely blew it off.”
One of the girls in the case identified by Jane Doe, now fifteen, claimed to have been sexually assaulted four times at school by the physical education teacher, Abdol Hossein Mehrdadi. The abuse was stated to have begun in 2004 and ended in 2007. The other girl identified as Susan Doe, eleven, claimed to have been molested once by Mehrdadi in 2007. Mehrdadi, sixty-three denied the molestation and was never arrested or criminally charged. Jane Doe’s stepfather had been arrested and charged with molesting her. It was argued that his relative coerced Jane Doe into changing her story and implicating “Coach M”. The charges were then dropped against her stepfather.
The jury has awarded both girls a total of $4.025 million and has awarded $3.625 million of it to Jane Doe. Sixty-three percent of the responsibility was placed on the teacher and thirty-seven percent on the school district. The district will only have to pay $1.35 million. The jury awarded Susan Doe, $400,000 and split the responsibility fifty-fifty between the teacher and the school district. City spokesman for the school district, Gabe Ross has said that “the district has empathy and compassion for the terrible ordeal the victims in this case have been through.”