More than a decade after Florida’s Palm Beach County School District blamed four little girls for being molested by a teacher, the district is poised to pay $3.6 million to them and their families to settle a lawsuit, per the New York Daily News.
In 2005, the district ruled that the four third-grade girls were “old enough to appreciate the consequences of their actions” when they followed their teacher’s orders as he molested them, according to court documents. When the victims’ families filed a lawsuit, the district said the children “conducted themselves in a careless and negligent manner,” so school officials were not responsible for the incidents, the Sun Sentinel reported.
The teacher, Blake Sinrod, who is now 46, was first accused by the third-graders in 2005 of fondling them in the classroom of Coral Sunset Elementary School near Boca Raton. Sinrod was investigated by school police after a mother was told by one of the girls that her teacher touched her under her clothing during a reading group and told her to touch his private area over his clothing, police reports state.
The three other girls told similar stories of Sinrod inappropriately touching them or telling them to touch him during reading group sessions or in-class movies.
Sinrod was fired in 2006, and in May of that year, he pleaded guilty to child abuse charges involving two of the kids. He had his teaching license revoked two years later.
The parents of the four girls filed their civil lawsuit in 2006, and only now is it coming to an end.
The girls’ parents believe Sinrod may have targeted the four girls because they were immigrants, and their families might not have known how to report crimes to the authorities, the Sun-Sentinel reports.