Whitehurst: Whitehurst sex abuse: California school district to pay $2.25m to settle suit involving teacher who had student’s baby

The Redlands Unified School District has reached a settlement of $2.25 million in its second sexual abuse lawsuit against Laura Whitehurst, a former English teacher, soccer coach, and convicted sex offender. This settlement brings the total amount paid to Whitehurst’s victims to $8.25 million since her arrest in 2013. Back in August 2016, the district agreed to pay $6 million to a former Citrus Valley High School student who had a child with Whitehurst while he was her student.
The most recent lawsuit, filed in January 2021, was brought by a former Redlands High School student, now 30 years old, who claimed that he was sexually abused by Whitehurst at the school in 2007 and 2008. According to the plaintiff’s attorney, this abuse started when the plaintiff was just 14 years old.
In 2013, Whitehurst admitted to police that she had engaged in sexual activity with him 10 to 15 times, both in her classroom and at her Redlands apartment.
Following her arrest in July 2013, Whitehurst continued to teach and coach at Citrus Valley High School, where she also targeted male students, including the one with whom she had a child. She was eventually convicted of four felony counts of unlawful sexual intercourse and two counts of oral copulation involving three victims, receiving a one-year sentence in county jail.
Whitehurst gave birth in 2014 after having sex with the boy for a year.
Whitehurst’s arrest gained national attention and uncovered a larger scandal within the school district. A 14-month investigation by the Southern California News Group in 2018 and 2019 revealed a pattern spanning nearly two decades, where district teachers and administrators had covered up or failed to report complaints of sexual abuse.
Redlands Unified spokesperson Christine Stephens said that the district was aware of the recent settlement, but could not comment due to confidentiality agreements.
The scandal prompted investigations by the state Attorney General’s Office and the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing, leading to the surrender of a teaching credential by a former Clement Middle School principal in 2023.
So far, Morgan Stewart’s law firm, Manly Stewart & Finaldi, has secured over $45.5 million in settlements from the district to address sexual abuse lawsuits by former students, some involving allegations dating back more than two decades.
Another pending lawsuit against Whitehurst and the district involves her first alleged victim, a former student at Redlands East Valley High School, who is now 31. Allegations include sexual intercourse and other sexual acts with the plaintiff in 2007 when he was a freshman.
Whitehurst faced allegations of sexual abuse or inappropriate contact with students at multiple schools during her seven-year tenure in the district, as revealed by the Southern California News Group investigation.
(With inputs from agencies)

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