A federal judge has issued a $1 million civil verdict against a former Oklahoma teacher who was sentenced to 10 years in prison in 2015 for sex crimes involving her teenage student.
U.S. District Judge Robin J. Cauthron said in her ruling that the teenage boy went from a well-liked athlete to the subject of ridicule once news broke of the sexual relationship he shared with Jennifer Caswell, 31.
“(The boy) reports feelings of depression, isolation, and self-blame for the events that transpired,” Cauthron wrote. “He experienced humiliation when members of his community publicly chastised him and when strangers recognized him and questioned him about the scandal.”
David Cummins, attorney for Caswell, said she will be in prison for the next several years and has no money to pay her former student. However, he said, it’s unlikely Caswell will appeal the ruling.
The former student and his father sued Caswell and the Hollis School District in 2015 over the sexual relationship, The Oklahoman reported.
The school district agreed to pay $125,000 to settle claims that the boy’s school participated in covering the sexual abuse. It won’t be liable for the $1 million against Caswell.
Bob Wyatt, attorney for the teenage boy and his father, said his clients sued because they wanted to bring attention to the problem of sexual abuse by teachers.
“We are pleased that the judge considered the outrageous behavior of the teacher and are pleased with the fact that the judge sent a message to teachers and schools across the state of Oklahoma that sexual abuse of a child by a teacher will not be condoned,” Wyatt said.