The Los Angeles school district will pay $19.9 million to settle claims against a former teacher’s assistant who sexually abused children at an elementary school in North Hollywood, attorneys for the families announced Thursday.
The former teacher’s assistant, Lino Cabrera, was originally charged with five felony counts of lewd acts on a child under 14 and one count of continued sexual abuse — and had been accused of sexually abusing six girls, ages 10 and 11, between September 2016 and May 2019.
Cabrera pleaded no contest in January 2020 to a felony count of continuous sexual abuse, a felony count of a lewd act upon a child under 14 and four misdemeanor counts of child molestation, according to the L.A. County district attorney’s office. As part of the plea deal, Cabrera agreed to register as a sex offender for life.
Cabrera was sentenced to eight years in state prison, according to attorneys for the victims.
Cabrera assisted in the school’s computer lab, prosecutors said. According to Los Angeles Unified School District officials, he worked at the elementary school for almost a decade and was placed on unpaid suspension May 30, 2019, when the arrest warrant was filed. State law requires school districts to fire people convicted of sexual abuse and bars them from working in schools.
“He used his position of trust at the school to molest multiple children on campus over the course of several years,” attorneys for the victims said in a release.
School district officials were not immediately available for comment.
If the case had gone to trial, the school district’s liability would have hinged on whether other employees of the school district could have or should have known about the abuse. In settling the case, the school district admitted no wrongdoing.
This is a developing story and will be updated.