Central Valley School District settles on $2.5 million payout to - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Central Valley School District settles on $2.5 million payout to former student alleging sexual abuse by teacher

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Emily Keenan held a press conference about the settlement on Thursday Emily Keenan held a press conference about the settlement on Thursday
One of the pieces of evidence used in the lawsuit One of the pieces of evidence used in the lawsuit
SPOKANE VALLEY, Wash. -

MOBILE USERS CLICK HERE FOR ADDITIONAL PHOTOS OF COMPLAINTS MADE AGAINST ANTHONY CUCINOTTI

CLICK HERE TO VIEW ALL OF THE COMPLAINTS AND ALLEGATIONS MADE BY STUDENTS, PARENTS, AND TEACHERS AGAINST ANTHONY CUCINOTTI

The Central Valley School District has paid a former Bowdish Middle School student $2.5 million after the girl said former teacher Anthony Cucinotti raped her when she was in his sixth grade class. 

"I lived in fear, was depressed all the time, acted out in many bad ways," Emily Keenan, who is now 19, said in a press conference Thursday. Keenan was 11-years-old at the time of the alleged assaults. Kennan claims she was raped five times by Cucinotti. 

Cucinotti was placed on paid administrative leave in April 2009 after several students reported he snapped Keenan's bra in class. Keenan did not report the rape allegations at that time. Keenan's attorney said the assaults took place in Cucinotti's classroom after school. Three years later, Keenan decided to report the rapes and pursued a lawsuit, something she said was so the school district officials would be more vigilant in protecting students. 

In the press conference on Thursday, Keenan said she plans to donate $10,000 to Lutheran Family Services, which provides counseling to sexual assault victims. She also said she wants to set up a foundation to help rape victims.

The Central Valley School District did not admit liability for Cucinotti's alleged actions in the settlement. 

“CVSD settled the lawsuit with the hope to allow the former student to obtain whatever help and counseling she may need to heal and move forward as the result of these claimed actions of Mr. Cucinotti, and to avoid the burden, time and cost to everyone of a lengthy trail,” the district said in a statement.

Complaints against Cucinotti began a year after he had been hired in the district in 1992. Co-workers, students and parents spoke about violent outbursts and inappropriate behavior with female students. 

One complaint said Cucinotti would have girls sit on his lap. Another said he referred to some of his students as his "muffins." Girls in his class would often report that Cucinotti would look down their shirts, stare at their chests and drop pencils in an attempt to look up their skirts. Several parents asked that their child be transferred out of his class. 

Cucinotti received verbal and written reprimands during his time with the district. He was ordered to complete sexual harassment training and anger management classes, as well. He resigned in 2009 in exchange for a letter that verified his employment with the district. Keenan's lawyer, Richard Eymann said Cucinotti is now living in California and is not teaching. 

Eymann says he thinks more settlements will be coming, citing at least one other student who has come forward saying she had been molested by Cucinotti. 

When is the statute of limitations on allegations like these? Eymann says for adults it's three years, but for minors, it's until the day they turn 21. 

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