Clovis Unified settles suit with family of second grader

March 8, 2013 12:00:00 AM PST
Clovis Unified has agreed to settle a lawsuit with the family of a second grader who police say was sexually abused by her teacher on school grounds during school hours.

The teacher, Neng Yang, is facing both federal and state charges for the sex crimes.

The district will pay the student's family more than $2 million as terms of an out-of-court agreement.

According to the young victim's attorney, the girl still faces many struggles as a result of this abuse.

The child has transferred schools but her parents want to move to southern California as they work toward healing their family.

At Freedom Elementary in Clovis, new windows are now on the doors of each classroom. They eliminate privacy as a result of the crimes police say took place in room 9.

A year after investigators say the longtime teacher sexually abused his second grade student and even recorded the crimes on his cell phone, an insurance company is paying the girl's family just over $2 million.

Fresno Attorney Chuck Magill is not involved in this case, but has represented others in lawsuits against school districts. He says the money won't change what happened, but will make it possible to move on.

"This type of thing is going to have a lasting impact on that child and my suspicion is $2 million is not that high when you consider the cost of counseling for that child for the next twenty to thirty years," Magill said.

Clovis Unified issued a statement Friday saying the settlement "was reached by working quickly and collaboratively together to take what steps were available to Clovis unified to do what is right."

Attorney Warren Paboojian represented the minor child, he told Action News "the school district realized this would be a lengthy lawsuit involving discovery and eventually a trial. This settlement represents a new beginning and fresh start for the family."

Magill feels the district was in an especially difficult situation since both yang and his wife were employed by the school district.

"I think they had a lot of exposure because the husband was a teacher of an elementary school class and his wife was one of the first principals," Magill said.

Neng Yang was arrested in late January 2012 after a criminal complaint revealed he used a game to conceal his crimes. Court records show yang kept the girl alone in his classroom while the rest of the students participated in PE activities outside. They played a game he called the "lollipop game", where the child is blindfolded and then sexually abused.

Yang is facing decades in prison if convicted on state and federal charges.

Since his arrest, Yang's classroom has now been turned into a resource room for teachers.


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