Laura Elizabeth Whitehurst, who was 28-years-old at the time of the case, was charged with 41 counts of sex and oral copulation with a minor. The English teacher wound up pleading to six counts and served 6 months of jail time.
As if news of Whitehurst’s sexual misconduct with multiple minors wasn’t upsetting enough — she also gave birth to a child fathered by one of her teenage victims.
Now, that victim and his family have won a massive child abuse settlement case — one of the largest for a single victim from a public agency.
The price tag? 6 million dollars.
According to the Los Angeles Times, the victims family sued the Redlands school district on the basis that officials were negligent in protecting their students, or responding to accusations of Whitehurst’s misconduct.
The former student asserted that certain school officials were well aware of his relationship with Whitehurst, and failed to warn his family. The victim also testified that the school questioned the English teacher and himself about the pregnancy — though it warranted no action on the district’s part.
John Manly, an attorney for the victim, argued that school officials did nothing despite the mounting evidence of the relationship, saying:
“There was a picture of her in the birthing suite circulated to people at the school with the boy,” Manly said.” The principal wrote an email about the photo.”
Details of year long sexual abuse likely swayed the jury as well.
During the case, the victim painted a picture of manipulation on Whitehurst’s part. Redlands Daily Facts reports:
According to the victim’s complaint, Whitehurst demanded the teen keep their relationship secret, demanded he not associate with other women or girls and manipulated him in a religious manner by saying the baby was “God’s plan” and a “miracle baby.” Whitehurst also allegedly required the victim to attend doctor appointments with her, and even called the principal to excuse the victim’s absences while he attended appointments.
District Spokesman Tom DeLapp said at a press conference that he hopes “this tragic and unfortunate episode will now be behind us,” and allowed that the school district is unhappy with the outcome.
Whitehurst is currently registered as a sex offender and shares custody of her child with her former victim.