LOS ANGELES (December 19, 2012) - Estey Bomberger has announced that yesterday a Los Angeles jury awarded a young victim of molestation a verdict of $23 million resulting from sexual abuse by his former elementary school teacher, Forrest Stobbe. Stobbe is responsible for $16.1 million of the verdict and the Los Angeles Unified School District must pay $6.9 million in damages for its failure to provide proper supervision.
This is believed to be the largest verdict ever leveled against LAUSD in a molestation case involving a single victim.
The abuse took place when Stobbe was a fifth grade teacher at Queen Anne Elementary School in the Mid-Wilshire district. Stobbe molested the 10-year old boy from October 2008 to July 2009 when he was arrested. In September 2011, Srobbe pleaded no contest to two counts of a lewd act on a child and to continuous sexual abuse of a child younger than 14. The specific charges against him included rape and oral copulation on a minor.
"We are extremely pleased with the verdict and the jury's obvious call for teachers and school districts to be held accountable for their actions," stated Steve Estey, of Estey Bomberger who represented the young victim in the 15-day trial in LA Superior Court. "The district ignored a number of red flags and complaints by other victims and as a result Stobbe grew bolder and inflicted a lifetime of harm on our defenseless client." Estey had asked for a $25 million verdict at the time of trial.
In 2010, Estey argued a molestation-related case in San Jose, California that resulted in a $30 million verdict, the largest verdict in California history for a single person sex abuse case.
Previous acts by Stobbe included being alone in his car with a student after school, improperly touching a student and private lunches with the victim. The school administration was aware of these incidents yet did not fully take the proper steps in supervising and disciplining Stobbe. At trial, LAUSD blamed the 10-year old victim for not coming forward sooner, calling him a liar and saying that he was not molested on the school campus.
Estey presented significant evidence to the contrary. The lead detective and the defense expert concluded the abuse did take place on campus and the victim's DNA was found in a jar of Vaseline in Stobbe's desk.
About Estey Bomberger
The California injury lawyers at Estey Bomberger represent victims of serious injury and wrongful death due to the negligence or willful misconduct of others. The attorneys have successfully handled many complex and challenging cases against individuals, corporations and governmental agencies. For more information, visit http://www.esteybomberger.com or http://www.childmolestationvictim.com.