The Paso Robles Joint Unified School District will pay $1 million of a roughly $5 million overall settlement to an underage girl who was sexually abused by former Paso Robles High School teacher Jeremy Monn.
Monn was convicted in 2015 of having sex with the girl, who was his 16-year-old student at the time, according to the San Luis Obispo County District Attorney’s Office. He was also convicted the same year for a similar relationship with a student at his previous school.
The Paso Robles victim’s family sued, claiming that Big Oak Flat-Groveland Unified School District in Tuolumne County did not disclose to police previous complaints of inappropriate conduct made to their district staff about Monn and instead advocated for his hire in Paso Robles.
The lawsuit did not accuse Paso Robles Joint Unified School District officials of knowing about Monn’s prior history, but it did argue they were negligent in monitoring Monn’s interaction with the student.
“This is a classic example of a school district passing off a bad teacher to another school district,” Los Angeles-based attorney David M. Ring, who represented the victim, said Monday.
Last week, Ring and attorneys for the Paso Robles and Big Oak school districts entered into a settlement agreement that will be formalized in San Luis Obispo Superior Court on March 1.
Under terms of the settlement, Big Oak Unified School District will pay $4 million, the Paso Robles school district will pay $1 million, and Monn will pay $20,000, Ring said.
Ring said the settlement was approved by the Paso Robles school district’s board of trustees at a Jan. 17 closed-session meeting.
“This was an unfortunate and intolerable situation,” Paso Robles Superintendent Chris Williams said in a statement Monday. “Our thoughts and prayers are with the student and her family. Our district remains committed to ensuring a safe learning environment for our students and staff.”
Big Oak Flat-Groveland Unified School Superintendent David Urquhart, who was specifically named in the lawsuit, said he did not know the details of the approved settlement but that he was pleased the district can move forward.
“I’m glad the matter has been taken care of,” Urquhart said. “This has been an awful situation for the young woman involved.”
He said the district’s portion of the settlement will be covered by its insurance provider.
Monn, who was an agriculture instructor at Paso Robles High School at the time, was convicted of sex with a minor and meeting with a minor for lewd purposes in July 2015. The victim was sexually abused while she was a student there during the 2013-14 school year, according to prosecutors.
As the Paso Robles investigation unfolded, officials in Merced County discovered another victim. A year earlier, when Monn was a teacher at Don Pedro High School, he had a relationship with a then-15-year-old student between April and July 2013, according to the Merced Sun-Star.
Monn and the girl had sexual contact more than a dozen times, including several meetings at Monn’s apartment in Merced, the Sun-Star reported, citing police reports. The girl spent three days at Monn’s home, where they consumed alcohol and had sex, the newspaper reported, while the girl’s parents thought she was at a three-day FFA conference.
While his San Luis Obispo County case was ongoing, Monn pleaded no contest to three felony charges for the Merced County case. An agreement between officials in both Merced and San Luis Obispo counties led to a combined term of about seven years in prison.
Monn is serving his sentence at Golden Gate Modified Community Correctional Facility in Kern County, according to the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.
Ring said Monday that the Big Oak school district was faced with “several complaints” about Monn’s behavior but did not mention those to Paso Robles school district officials when Monn applied for a job. Instead, Big Oak officials gave Monn “glowing reviews,” Ring said.
“Big Oak was clearly the one who had a lot of problems with this guy, complaints that should have been reported to the police but weren’t,” he said. “I think this happened right under Paso Robles’ (school district’s) nose,” Ring said.
Asked about his client, Ring said she’s “still struggling.”
“She’s had a tough go of it,” Ring said. “This has impacted her entire life.”