OAN’s Brooke Mallory
6:32 PM – Sunday, June 4, 2023
After a teacher’s aide admitted to sexually abusing at least eight elementary school students over ten years ago, Sacramento and the city’s education district will now pay more than $52 million to resolve claims that alleged school officials were negligent.
Following his admission that he had abused children as young as seven in a classroom at Mark Twain Elementary School, Joshua Vasquez was given a sentence of 150 years to life in prison in 2016.
Vasquez held a part-time position with the Sacramento City Unified School District, in addition to serving as the program leader for the city’s START after-school program.
According to a settlement agreement reached last week, five of the victims will reportedly receive a $40 million payout, with the city paying roughly 60% and the district taking care of the remaining balance. A separate agreement for a sixth victim led to a settlement of $12.5 million.
The city also sent one-page letters to the victims as part of the settlement, praising their bravery for coming forward and telling their vulnerable stories.
“Please accept our sincere apologies for what you suffered due to Vasquez’s conduct and we hope our settlement of this matter will help you in your efforts to heal from this horrible and most regrettable experience at the hands of our former employee,” the letter said, signed by Jackie Beecham, the city’s director of youth, parks, and community enrichment.
A number of policy and procedure improvements, including more training and tougher guidelines for how and when a staff member can be alone with pupils, have been put in place since the cases were made public, officials claimed.
According to 2023 statistics reported by Charlie Health, 50% of girls and 30% of boys have experienced sexual abuse of some kind, and the highest risk years for this kind of abuse is between the ages of 12-years-old to 34-years-old. Most sexual assault victims personally know their abusers, and suicidal thoughts and attempts are significantly higher among these victims than those who have not been sexually abused.
If you need immediate, confidential help, call the National Sexual Assault Telephone Hotline: 1-800-656-4673 (HELP)
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