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Indiana school district settles sex abuse case for $1.4M

March 24, 2017

An Indiana school district has agreed to pay $1.4 million to settle a lawsuit over a former employee's sexual misconduct with a woman when she was a 15-year-old high school student.

The South Bend Tribune reports the woman sought more than $20 million from the South Bend Community School Corp. She sued the school district in 2013, alleging it negligently hired Stephen A. Rokop and failed to supervise him, protect her, safeguard the school and train employees.

Rokop was a paraprofessional and freshman boys' basketball coach at Washington High School when the sexual misconduct occurred during the 2009-2010 academic year. Rokop was later convicted of sexual misconduct with a minor and child seduction.

He was sentenced in 2011 to six years in prison, but was released in July 2013. He will remain on Indiana's sex offender registry until July 2023.

In the lawsuit, the woman levied complaints against the school district based on 32 separate alleged instances of misconduct. The woman and the school district later agreed to settle the case out of court, and a judge dismissed the lawsuit in January.

The school district released copies of the settlement agreement this week. It calls for the district to pay the woman a lump sum of $1.15 million up front, followed by another $250,000 within the next two decades.

The district denied any wrongdoing as part of the settlement, and the woman agreed to cease any current or future legal action.

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