Student who fathered his teacher Laura Whitehurst's child received huge settlement

Laura Whitehurst served less than a year for having sex with her students. Photo / AP
Laura Whitehurst served less than a year for having sex with her students. Photo / AP

A student who fathered his teacher's child has received a first-of-its-kind, seven-figure payout.

The boy, who cannot be named, was paid US$6 million (NZ$8.25 million) by the local school district in Redlands, California, on Saturday, the Los Angeles Times reported.

He was "manipulated" by 29-year-old Laura Whitehurst, a court heard, but he wasn't her only victim.

Whitehurst, who served six months in prison, was arrested in July, 2013, and charged with 41 counts of unlawful sex acts involving three students.

Whitehurst supplied the teen with alcohol and told him on a school trip to Disneyland that she wanted to kiss him. The pair had sexual intercourse on a number of occasions in her apartment following the trip.

The teen was also present during the birth of the pair's child, one Whitehurst said was "a miracle".

"Physically, I feel sick to my stomach thinking about the manipulation I was subjected to," the teen told a court when urging prosecutors to reject Whitehurst's plea bargain.

The seven-figure payout was in part determined by the school district's failure to act on reports suggesting Whitehurst was engaged in relationships with her students.

Prosecutors alleged the school district investigated reports but failed to pass on information to police or social workers.

"The size of this settlement represents the gravity of the damage done to this young victim and his family and it also highlights the extreme malfeasance and neglect by school officials who turned a blind eye to the criminal conduct of a teacher and failed to protect a student," lawyer Vince Finaldi said.

District spokesman Tom DeLapp acknowledged the settlement was "high" but said it could have been even higher.

"We felt there could be serious damage to the reputation of a very fine school district if the plaintiff's lawyers were allowed to drag the district and its employees through the mud all over again," Mr DeLapp said.

"In the long run, $6 million is high, but it could have been much higher if this had been left to an empathetic jury in another city looking past the facts to find a financial scapegoat for the unprofessional, criminal actions of one individual."

In April, a female student from Idaho was awarded $2.5 million after alleging she was raped by her teacher.

Emily Keenan, who is not 19, said: "I lived in fear, was depressed all the time, acted out in many bad ways".

She was 11 at the time of the alleged assaults.

- news.com.au

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