A former California high school student who had a child with a teacher, who was later convicted of having sex with three students, is to receive a $6 million settlement from the school district.
Laura Whitehurst, 29, was first arrested in July 2013, when she was charged with 41 felony counts of unlawful sex acts which collectively could have added up to 29 years in prison, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Whitehurst was given a plea bargain in which she was sentenced to jail for one year, followed by probation and registration as a sex offender. The 21-year-old former student's attorneys say he shares custody of the child with Whitehurst.
The former student's attorneys said school officials had knowledge of the pair's relationship and failed to warn the student's family.
District spokesman Tom DeLapp said the district had settled so that "this tragic case once and for all so we can move forward."
We felt there could be serious damage to the reputation of a very fine school district if the plaintiff’s lawyers were allowed to drag the district and its employees through the mud all over again. In the long run, $6 million is high, but it could have been much higher if this had been left to an empathetic jury in another city looking past the facts to find a financial scapegoat for the unprofessional, criminal actions of one individual.
The relationship reportedly began in 2012 when the boy was 16 and lasted nearly a year. It began when Whitehurst started spending long periods of time with the student and driving him home from school functions. After a trip to Disneyland, the two kissed and soon began having sex. Whitehurst gave birth in June 2013, and the boy was present.
"Physically, I feel sick to my stomach thinking about the manipulation I was subjected to," he said in 2013 when he asked a judge to reject the proposed plea bargain, reports The New Zealand Herald.
School officials in Redlands say the only wrongdoing in the case was by Whitehurst. No one else has been charged with any crime.
"Ms. Whitehurst made a conscious effort to deceive and circumvent the standards and policies she was trained to uphold," DeLapp said.