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Galt elementary school district settles bus rider lawsuit

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Posted: Saturday, October 5, 2013 12:00 am

The Galt Joint Union Elementary School District has agreed to pay $75,000 to settle a claim filed by the father of a special-needs student who claimed he was sexually assaulted by a peer on a school bus.

The recent settlement comes ahead of a previously scheduled Oct. 25 trial date. The lawsuit was filed two years ago this month.

The student’s father claims district officials failed to protect his mentally challenged son, whom he says was sexually assaulted by another juvenile while riding a school bus for special-needs students in 2011.

The boy, then 12, said he was touched in sexual and offensive manners, and forced to engage in other acts, but the child was unable to and did not consent to them because of his mental disability, according to public documents.

Lt. Jim Uptegrove, now retired, previously said the incident was investigated by police and forwarded to the Sacramento County District Attorney for possible criminal charges. Since both the suspect and victim are minors, police have declined to provide additional information.

It is unclear whether the suspect was a fellow student.

The father, whom the News-Sentinel is not naming to protect his son’s identity, had sought an unspecified amount of emotional and physical damages for his son and attorney fees, according to court records.

Superintendent Karen Schauer of the Galt elementary district declined to discuss the case Friday, writing in an email that under the terms of the settlement agreement, all the district was permitted to say is that the matter has been resolved to the satisfaction of all parties.

The money — $51,707.60 after attorney and medical fees — will be deposited into an interest-bearing blocked account at a Galt bank that cannot be withdrawn from without a judge’s signature, according to online court documents.

The remainder of the settlement will be paid by the district to two parties: $13,094 to San Jose attorney Oscar Roesler, and $6,784 to the Department of Health Care Services for medical expenses including at least one hospital visit and counseling.

Contact reporter Jennifer Bonnett at jenniferb@lodinews.com.

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