An Oklahoma federal judge ruled that a former middle school teacher convicted of raping a student must pay the victim $1 million for intentionally inflicting emotional distress.
Judge Robin Cauthron’s ruling came two years after the victim and his father filed a civil lawsuit against Jennifer Caswell, 31, and the Oklahoma school district where she used to be employed, the Daily Mail reported.
The lawsuit came around the same time in 2015 when Caswell was sentenced to 15 years in prison, with five of those years suspended, for having sex with a 15-year-old Hollis Middle School student multiple times.
Judge Cauthron wrote in her opinion that the boy “reported feelings of depression, isolation, and self-blame” as well as feelings of humiliation once the news of his sexual relationship with Caswell spread.
“In this case, a teacher abused her position of trust and authority to sexually violate a young man, who will face the emotional effects of the encounter for the rest of his life,” Cauthron wrote.
Bob Wyatt, the attorney for the victim and his father, told the Oklahoman that his clients were satisfied with the results of the lawsuit and hoped it would send a message to teachers and school districts that educator-facilitated sexual abuse will not be condoned.
Caswell’s defense attorney argued that his client will not be able to afford to pay the $1 million judgment to the victim, given that she still has to spend the next few years in prison, but Caswell is unlikely to appeal the judge’s decision.
Hollis Public Schools settled a separate lawsuit with the victim and his family in July that accused the school district of covering up the crime. The district agreed to pay $125,000 to the family.