A group of former La Jolla High School students who said a now-retired teacher sexually abused them have settled their lawsuit against the teacher, the school’s ex-principal and the San Diego Unified School District, it was announced Wednesday.
The lawsuit filed in 2020 alleged physics teacher Martin Teachworth groped multiple underage students over the course of several years. Teachworth retired in 2017 and his teaching credential was revoked two years later.
The former students further alleged that district officials failed to discipline Teachworth despite numerous complaints levied against him regarding the inappropriate touching of students.
Terms of the settlement have not been disclosed, but the San Diego Unified School District said in a statement that a review of district policies for handling sexual assault allegations “has resulted in changes and improvements that have since been implemented.”
Officials added that the district will “continue to review and update these policies annually to remain current and consistent with the latest improvements in best practices and laws. The district respects the courage of the claimants in this matter for speaking out and remains committed to making the safety of its students a top priority.”
Lauren Cerri, one of the attorneys representing the plaintiffs, said in a statement, “There was real harm done to these women and they’ve been validated.”
The earliest incident outlined in the lawsuit was an allegation that Teachworth put his hands down the back of a female student’s pants in 2003, which was reported to district officials.
The lawsuits alleged that complaints piled up against Teachworth, but he continued teaching until his retirement and no concrete disciplinary action was taken against him.
He was once removed from his classroom for two weeks in 2016 and placed on paid administrative leave after a student reported he made advances on her, but returned to the classroom without any further reprimand, the complaint states.
City News Service contributed to this article.