School District Pays Former Student-Athlete $3.5M in Abuse Lawsuit Settlement | Athletic Business

School District Pays Former Athlete $3.4M in Abuse Lawsuit Settlement

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A San Francisco school district has agreed to settle a lawsuit that was filed by a former student track star who alleged she was abused by an assistant coach. 

Los Gatos-Saratoga Union High School District agreed to pay $3.4 million to a woman referred to in the lawsuit as Jane Doe. The former student said that assistant track coach Chioke "Chee" Robinson began grooming her when she was a 14-year-old freshman in 1999, and began having sex with her when she was 15. 

Doe alleged that the school district enable the abuse, as her mother informed school administrators after finding a love letter from Robinson and a pregnancy test in her daughter's trash can in 1999. Robinson was not disciplined until he was fired in 2001. 

Another student testified that she told former head coach Willie Harmatz that Robinson made her uncomfortable, but no action was taken. 

"When another student disclosed that she had seen Robinson abusing Jane, Harmatz went to the girl's house and threatened to ruin her athletic career if she didn't stop 'lying' about Robinson, according to sworn testimony from the student," Doe's attorney Lauren Cerri said in a statement. "Harmatz should have taken steps to protect this student but he instead covered up the brewing scandal."

Doe said her dreams of becoming a track star were shattered because of the abuse. 

"I was a popular kid in high school," Doe said. "I had a lot of friends but Robinson took control of my life by alienating me from my family and friends. It happened very quickly -- everyone you know becomes a stranger because you're no longer a part of them and they're no longer a part of you. So then it was just him."

Robinson was arrested in 2020 on suspicion of sexually assaulting four girls while working at Los Gatos and Piedmont Hills high schools over the course of 12 years. He faces 19 charges relating to sexual assault against numerous minors, including Doe. 

In a statement, the school district said it hopes the settlement agreement "will help bring closer for everyone involved in this unfortunate situation." 

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