It has been close to a year and a half since a group of students sued the Hawaii Center for the Deaf and Blind.
A federal judge in Hawaii has approved a preliminary $5.75 million settlement in a class-action lawsuit against the state over sexual abuse of deaf and blind students. The lawsuit claimed that the state knew that the older children at the school were abusing the younger students for years but did nothing to stop the abuse.
In 2011 police began investigating allegations of widespread sexual abuse between classmates.
In August 2011, a lawsuit was filed against the state on behalf of 50-60 students.
The lawsuit alleged that the older group of students “bullied, terrorized, assaulted, robbed, sodomized (and raped)” younger students at the school.
It was alleged that the aggressors were the older students who were sodomizing boys; boys on boys, boys on girls, girls on girls. These assaults were taking place in the school bathroom, on school buses, and even in the bushes. This was all taking place at a school for the deaf and blind. Who could hear their calls for help? Who could see the attacks? Why was there no supervision for these students?
How could the school employees and state Department of Education officials have known about the assaults and have looked the other way, as was alleged in the lawsuit.
The state has now agreed to pay $5 million to settle the lawsuit. This money will go to the victims to help pay for their counseling and therapy.
The state has agreed to make two-dozen improvements to the school’s safety at the Hawaii School for the Deaf and Blind as part of the settlement.
For more information, contact one of our Gacovino Lake attorneys at 1-800-246-HURT (4878).