Top-Ranking School Sued For $100 Million In Sexual Assault Case

Rob Shimshock | Education Reporter

Two families sued a top-ranking D.C. elementary charter school for more than $100 million after the sexual assault of their children, according to a Thursday report.

The unnamed families are suing the Latin American Montessori Bilingual (LAMB) Public Charter School one month after former teacher Manuel Garcia Fernandez received eight years in prison for the sexual assault of six students from 2015 to 2017, reported The Washington Post.

The families claim that LAMB should have fired Fernandez earlier, alleging that multiple reports since 2014 attested to the former teacher’s suspicious behavior around students.

Staff members allegedly saw Fernandez bringing children into the basement, which is banned, and emailed the children often.

“Minor 1 began exhibiting unusual behavior, including, but not limited to, becoming upset, suffering from an eye twitch, having trouble sleeping, waking up agitated, and being afraid of being alone in Minor 1’s basement, taking a shower or going to the bathroom alone,” said a statement related to the litigation obtained by WaPo. “Minor 1 also began suffering from anxiety, having trouble breathing and was sad and despondent.”

Cristina Encinas, LAMB’s former principal, stepped down in December following an investigation and Diane Cottman, LAMB’s executive director, is expected to follow when the school year concludes.

The lawsuit asserts that Cottman and Encinas did not tell the families all of the allegations Fernandez faced.

LAMB had anticipated a lawsuit, spokeswoman Dawn Arteaga told WaPo.

“We hope to work toward a just resolution of all claims,” said Arteaga. “The board has been working diligently to do everything in their power to ensure that LAMB will continue to be a top-performing Tier 1 school for many years to come.”

The Daily Caller News Foundation reached out to LAMB for additional comment, but received none in time for press.


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