A former Pomona Excessive College pupil who mentioned she was raped at age 16 by her coach was awarded $35 million in damages Tuesday by a Los Angeles County Superior Courtroom jury.

The girl is one in every of eight within the final two years who’ve sued the Pomona Unified College District and a handful of males who coached at Pomona Excessive College — a few of whom are nonetheless teaching at different colleges. Their allegations have included sexual grooming, sexual abuse and rape.

The girl is now in her 40s and was recognized in courtroom paperwork as Jane Doe No. 4. The plaintiff mentioned she was raped by her former coach, Herman Hopson, in 1997 whereas at a faculty observe and discipline meet in Nevada.

Others to have been sued embrace Brian Crichlow, now girls’s basketball coach at Mt. San Antonio Faculty in Walnut; Derrick Pugh; and one-time Pomona Ganesha Excessive ladies’ basketball coach Vincent Spirlin.

Their accusers — former cheerleaders, college students and pupil athletes — have alleged that, in incidents within the Nineteen Nineties, the lads took them into their confidence, frolicked with them and shared private tales, generally brazenly flirting and interesting in sexually charged speak.

These actions, they are saying, ultimately led to underage alcohol utilization inspired and facilitated by the coaches, in addition to sexual abuse and, within the case of Jane Doe No. 4, rape.

“It’s simply nuts the variety of the ladies who’ve filed claims towards these males, these coaches,” mentioned legal professional John Taylor, of Manhattan Seashore-based Taylor & Ring, who represents Jane Doe No. 4. “Probably the most unimaginable factor all through these trials is the braveness of those girls. It’s been brutal for them.”

Jane Doe No. 4 was a member of the Pomona Excessive College observe and discipline staff in spring 2017 when the squad traveled to Las Vegas for a meet. She argued with Kitrick Taylor, a former NFL participant who was head coach of the staff, over some side of the meet on the night time earlier than the staff was to return residence to L.A. County.

Learn extra: Ex-cheerleaders, student athletes allege they were sexually groomed by coaches

Hopson, an assistant coach, beneficial that Jane Doe No. 4 go to him in his room on the Days Inn Motel to debate the difficulty, in keeping with courtroom paperwork.

Within the room, an inebriated Hopson kissed the teenager, eliminated her garments and compelled himself on her, in keeping with the paperwork. Hopson first penetrated Jane Doe No. 4 together with his fingers earlier than utilizing his genitals, the paperwork say.

Upon the staff’s return residence, Jane Doe No. 4 reported the incident to the college’s principal, Gloria Russo, courtroom paperwork say. She was informed by Russo to “converse to nobody about this” and that the administrator would “maintain it.”

However Jane Doe No. 4 mentioned she was subsequently subjected to verbal harassment by Kitrick Taylor in addition to by classmates and teammates.

“Former Pomona Excessive college students testified that the abuse was so rampant,” mentioned legal professional John Taylor, “that ‘everybody on the campus knew’ that ladies have been being taken benefit of by coaches, but nothing was accomplished.”

Because of the alleged harassment, Jane Doe No. 4 moved out of state on the finish of the college 12 months.

Kitrick Taylor was not questioned by police, nor was he disciplined for his actions, in keeping with courtroom paperwork.

John Taylor mentioned that, previous to the lawsuits, not one of the coaches confronted penalties. No prison costs have been filed towards the lads. The legal professional mentioned Spirlin was nonetheless working within the faculty district. Public information confirmed that Spirlin was nonetheless employed by Pomona Unified as of 2022.

Calls and an e mail despatched to the district on Tuesday in search of remark weren’t instantly returned.

Learn extra: Six men allege ‘rampant, unceasing sexual abuse’ at secluded Northern California nonprofit

Pomona Unified Supt. Darren Knowles issued a press release on Tuesday saying that the present administration solely turned conscious of the allegations from the Nineteen Nineties in 2018.

“Upon receipt of this info, we instantly contacted regulation enforcement, and a full investigation was carried out,” he mentioned. “Regulation enforcement determined to not prosecute.”

Knowles mentioned the college implemented training and student safeguards that embrace annual necessary reporter coaching, coaching for directors on easy methods to stop sexual grooming and enhanced monitoring of athletic and exercise packages and administrators.

Taylor, the legal professional, mentioned the measures have been too late to avoid wasting his plaintiffs.

“Directors and personnel have been conscious of the grooming and sexually abusive conduct of a number of coaches, together with Herman Hopson,” he mentioned.

Jane Doe No. 4’s verdict is the primary monetary settlement publicly disclosed. Jane Doe Nos. 1, 2 and eight beforehand settled lawsuits with the district. Jane Doe No. 3 additionally settled on Jan. 16, in keeping with Taylor.

Lawsuits for Jane Doe Nos. 5, 6 and seven are nonetheless pending.

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This story initially appeared in Los Angeles Times.

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