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Education A National Roundup

Okla. Boys Molested by Teacher Settle With Private School

By Mary Ann Zehr — November 02, 2004 1 min read

Five boys who were molested by a teacher at a private school in Oklahoma will receive an undisclosed amount of money through the settlement of a lawsuit that the boys’ parents filed against the school.

Jim Gipson, a spokesman for Grace Fellowship Christian School in Tulsa, Okla., said a former athletic teacher at the school, Aaron Thompson, sexually molested five boys who are now ages 11 to 14. Mr. Thompson, 26, was arrested in 2002 for abuses that occurred from 1997 to 2002 and is serving a prison sentence.

In April 2003, the boys’ parents sued Grace Fellowship Inc., which is the operator of the school, and five school and church officials for negligence in protecting the children.

On Oct. 14, a jury of the Tulsa County District Court found all the defendants had been negligent and shown “a reckless disregard for the safety of the boys,” said Steven A. Novick, a lawyer for the plaintiffs. The jury awarded the plaintiffs $845,000 in damages.

The following day, the lawyers agreed on a settlement for punitive damages, but that part of the settlement is confidential, Mr. Novick said.

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