Nine sexual molestation victims of a former youth services coach employed by Los Angeles Unified for a program that took place after classes at Cahuenga Elementary and seven more similar victims of a former football coach at Franklin High School settled their claims for a collective $22 million, their lawyers announced today.
“These horrific cases provide two more sickening examples of LAUSD’s continuing failure to protect children under its care,” plaintiffs’ attorney Morgan Stewart said.
Ronnie Lee Roman was found guilty of molesting girls ranging in ages from 8 to 12 years old in June 2017. He worked at Cahuenga and Vine elementary schools. The victims were sexually assaulted on school grounds while attending the programs at both schools, according to the plaintiffs’ attorneys, who also said Roman had a prior known history of alleged sexual assault.
Roman was sentenced to 105 years in prison.
“LAUSD ignored complaints against Roman going back more than a decade and failed to heed law enforcement’s indications that he was in fact abusing children and attempted to prevent my clients from having their day in court,” Stewart said.
“Jaime Jimenez, a former longtime football coach at Franklin High, pleaded no contest in November to charges of sexually abusing five current and former Franklin students and was sentenced to more than 36 years in prison. The plaintiffs were between 13 and 16 years old when Jimenez abused them.
“One of Jimenez’s victims later committed suicide, the plaintiffs’ attorneys said.
The settlements call for $14 million to be paid to Roman’s victims and $8 million to those of Jimenez, according to the plaintiffs’ attorneys.
LAUSD responded to the announcement by the plaintiffs’ attorneys with a short statement.
“While we cannot comment on legal matters that are still being resolved, student safety is always of utmost concern, and we have made changes in our policies and practices to strengthen the protections for our students,” district spokeswoman Barbara Jones said in a statement. “While we have made much progress, we will continue to work diligently with our parents and the community to provide the safest possible environment for our students to learn and succeed.”