Decades-Long Sexual Abuse Case Finally Settled: Rochester School District to Pay $1.6 Million

Rochester, N.Y. – The Rochester City School District has agreed to pay $1.6 million to a woman who alleges she was raped more than 100 times by a music teacher during her time as a student at East High School in the 1970s. In order to protect her identity, the woman has been referred to as Betty Doe in court documents. Attorney John Bansbach, who represents the woman and eight other women who claim they were sexually abused by the same music teacher, Edwin Fleming, explained the details of the case.

According to Bansbach, the alleged sexual abuse occurred between the spring of 1976 and the spring of 1978. Although nearly 50 years have passed since the incidents, the woman reported the abuse to school officials in 1981. Bansbach revealed that his client suffered from various difficulties at school, including panic attacks, flashbacks, and night sweats, which prompted her transfer to another school.

Fleming was asked to resign by the school district when they became aware of the allegations. However, the impact of the abuse on his client has persisted. The lawsuit was filed in 2019, and after six years of legal proceedings, the settlement provides a sense of closure for her.

While no criminal charges were brought against Fleming, survivors of child sexual assault are now able to bring civil lawsuits as a result of the Child Victims Act that was passed in 2019. Bansbach emphasized that survivors often take a long time to recognize and report the abuse, highlighting the importance of the legislation.

The Rochester City School District held an hour-long executive session before agreeing to approve the settlement. The district acknowledged the settlement in a statement but declined to provide further comment. Edwin Fleming, the accused music teacher, has yet to respond to News10 NBC’s request for comment.

Overall, this settlement represents a step towards justice for the woman who endured years of alleged abuse. The case also sheds light on the challenges survivors face in coming forward and the importance of legislation that provides avenues for recourse.