Ex-Palmdale HS Student Reaches $5M in Sex Abuse Settlement

CNS News
February 18, 2020 - 1:06 pm

LANCASTER (CNS) - Attorneys representing an ex-Palmdale High School student who gave birth to a child fathered by the former girls' basketball coach today announced a $5 million settlement of her lawsuit against the Antelope Valley Union High School District.

"This settlement is one of the largest against a California school district in a single plaintiff sexual abuse case," said the plaintiff's attorney Saul Wolf. "The size of the settlement reflects that tremendous damage suffered by our client and blatant failure of school officials to supervise Williams and protect our client."

Wolf filed a notice of settlement with Lancaster Superior Court Judge Wendy Chang on Jan. 10.

The ex-coach, Marcus Williams, then 38, pleaded no contest to seven felony counts for sexually abusing plaintiff Jane DN Doe, who was 14 years old at the time, according to the plaintiff's attorneys' court papers, which say he was required to register as a sex offender.

The lawsuit alleged that Williams had been convicted of burglary of a vehicle before the district hired him. He also had been previously dismissed from his coaching job at Paraclete High School, a private Catholic campus in Lancaster, for misconduct, including the sending of inappropriate text messages to female students, according to the plaintiff's attorneys' court papers.

The complaint also alleged that several AVUHSD staff members and administrators failed to report sexual activity between Williams and the plaintiff, who became pregnant by the coach at age 15.

Williams stated in a sworn declaration that based on his prior history of arrest, "it is apparent that Antelope Valley Union High School District/Palmdale High School should not have hired me as a coach to work with female students."

In their court papers, defense attorneys stated that no one knew of the Doe-Williams relationship after it began in December 2015 until the next month, when the when the two were found alone in Williams' car at night by a sheriff's deputy. Williams was fired the next day.

Williams admitted to the improper relationship, according to the defense lawyers, who also stated in their court papers that Paraclete High did not fire the coach, but instead decided not to renew his contract.