LA archdiocese agrees to record-breaking sex abuse settlement

$8 million payment to teen who was sexually abused by a teacher at her Catholic high school is largest ever for a single victim; archdiocese paid $660 million to 508 victims in 2007

Juan Ivan Barajas kidnapped and sexually abused a 15 year-old student at the Catholic high school where he was teaching. (image from The New York Post)

The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles has agreed to pay $8 million to a teenager who was sexually abused and kidnapped by a teacher at her Catholic high school.

The teenager’s attorney, David Ring, said that the settlement — finalized by a court last week — is the largest that the Archdiocese of Los Angeles has ever paid to a single victim, The Associated Press reports. Over the past 15 years, the archdiocese has paid more than $740 million in sexual abuse settlements.

Juan Ivan Barajas, then-athletic director and health teacher at San Gabriel Mission High School in San Gabriel, Calif., repeatedly sexually abused the student when she was 15 years old, according to a lawsuit filed in 2017. Barajas then kidnapped her and took her to Las Vegas, according to court documents reported by The Los Angeles Times.

Barajas was arrested in Nevada and is currently serving a six-year prison sentence after pleading guilty to felony statutory sexual seduction, the AP reports.

The abuse – which reportedly began in April 2016 – followed repeated allegations of misconduct from others regarding Barajas, according to the Times. Several reports from 2015 detailed suspicious behavior by the athletic director around students at the all-girls school, including allegedly taking a girl into his office alone on more than 50 occasions.

Full story at NPR.org.

Comments

  1. This appears notable in that the case was brought forward and settled within five years of the incident.
    A simple single frame photo would suffice. Don’t understand showing side panels of both ears.

  2. Anonymous says

    I hope every administrator was fired, including the superintendent of schools.

  3. I searched on the California site and cannot find that he was even credentialed. Because it’s a private school, I’m wondering if they are just that lax in their hiring.

  4. Warren Memlib says

    Added to the previous $740 million payments – plus an unknown and separate amount for the archdiocesan lawyers’ fees (estimated @ $00-1000 per hour) brings the total to almost one billion dollars! – with more to come? Many of those settlements were on a contingency basis of 1/3 to 1/2 of the payment to the lawyers for the victims (real or imagined)!

  5. When will people realize that the bishops and lay administrators are not good stewards of the money donated to them?

  6. William Robert says

    Lilly: if he ever was credentialed, his credential was undoubtedly revoked by the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing after he was charged and convicted of felonies.

  7. William: I searched the Credentialing web site and his name doesn’t appear AT ALL!! I know someone whose license WAS revoked well over 20 years ago, and their name still appears on the State site. That’s why I mentioned that he probably wasn’t credentialed. When it comes to private schools – Catholic or otherwise – I don’t believe credentialing is always required. If he wasn’t credentialed, how carefully was he screened, if at all? We often (parents) place our trust too easily in others. Now we all must become trust-but-verifiers, I guess. My son once had an instructor (private school) who was a dis-barred attorney. The school had no idea.

  8. When I lived in a major midwest Archdiocese many years ago, the Archdiocese required all teachers to hold state credentials in the subject/grade they taught. The stated reason was that the Catholic schools had to meet the same standard as the public schools.
    The school, as well as the Archdiocese, was remiss if this teacher was not credentialed.

  9. William Robert says

    Lily: you raise some very good points.

  10. What a racket! Though statutory, the affair was consensual as both police and family acknowledged at the time. The suit is lame.

    My guess is that upon early release “for good behavior,” Papi and Miss Quinceañera will be off to Vegas again, this time on the faithful’s dime. Gee thanks, Gomez.

  11. Warren Peace says

    Beware of not only clergy and those in the religious life, but ALL who are entrusted with children, but also those in public schools, including administrators.

    Cover-ups springing from public school districts, school boards an the unions representing teachers make the Catholic Church’s handling look miniscule.

  12. Lauren Order says

    How much came fron insurance coverage and how much came from archdiocesan funds?

    It boggles the mind that the Los Angeles Archdiocese has these funds at its disposal and at the same time asks for funds to support foreign nationals invading California.

  13. Rick Shaw says

    Think twice, Cdl. Gomez, before you ask for special collections for your “pet and politically correct projects.”

    No more; and that also applies to the collateral effects on donations to Catholic Charities of Los Angeles.

    Those who are aware of and continuously turn a blind eye are just as, if not more, guilty than the actual perpetrator.

    All hope that you and your ilk will do the right thing have been abandoned.

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