California school district pays $11M to settle abuse lawsuit

September 24, 2021 GMT

REDLANDS, Calif. (AP) — A Southern California school district has agreed to pay $11 million to settle a lawsuit filed by seven victims and alleged victims of a former middle school teacher who is serving a 74-year prison sentence for sexual abuse.

The San Bernardino Sun reported Thursday that the settlement by the Redlands Unified School District ends litigation initially comprising four separate lawsuits involving Sean Ramiro Lopez, who taught English at Clement Middle School.

“Redlands Unified, under the leadership of this administration, has put in place aggressive policies, practices, and reporting protocols that can prevent this kind of behavior from occurring in the future,” Redlands Unified spokesman Tom DeLapp said in a statement Thursday.

Lopez, now 48, was sentenced in January 2006 to 74 years in prison for molesting three students from late 1999 to 2001. Lopez waived his right to a jury trial, and a judge convicted him of 60 felony counts, including lewd and lascivious acts on a minor under the age of 14.