MORENO VALLEY, Calif. – Two former students of the Moreno Valley Unified School District have been awarded $135 million by a jury after suffering sexual assault at the hands of a teacher almost three decades ago. Justin McGregor and Brady Blair, who were both molested by teacher Thomas Lee West, have continued to suffer the consequences of the abuse to this day. McGregor spoke of struggling with symptoms of PTSD and the impact on his relationships.
West was employed as a teacher at Vista Heights Middle School in Moreno Valley during the time McGregor and Blair were in sixth grade. The abuse continued until their sophomore year in high school, when they finally reported West to the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department. In 2006, West was convicted on multiple counts of child molestation and sentenced to 52 years in prison.
According to attorney Spencer Lucas, both McGregor and Blair have faced significant struggles over the years after burying the trauma and enduring the criminal trial. The Moreno Valley Unified School District, which was aware of multiple complaints of child sexual molestation dating back to the 1980s and early 1990s, was found to be 90% at fault by the jury. West was found to be 10% at fault.
The jury’s award of $135 million holds the school district accountable for around $120 million, as the district’s insurance policy can only cover a small portion of the amount. In response, the district expressed regret for what happened to the former students and is considering its options for moving forward.
McGregor views the verdict as not only a win for himself and Blair but also as a source of hope for other survivors of sexual abuse.
In summary, the Moreno Valley Unified School District has been ordered to pay $135 million as a result of the sexual assault suffered by two former students at the hands of a teacher. The jury found the district 90% at fault and the teacher 10% at fault. The district expressed regret for the abuse and is currently assessing its options for covering the awarded amount.