STREAMING NOW: Watch Now

Los Angeles Archdiocese settles sex abuse case against high school coach for $8 million

The Archdiocese of Los Angeles has agreed to pay an $8 million settlement to a girl who was 15 years old when a coach at her Catholic high school sexually ab...

Posted: Apr 18, 2019 4:00 AM

The Archdiocese of Los Angeles has agreed to pay an $8 million settlement to a girl who was 15 years old when a coach at her Catholic high school sexually abused her, her lawyers said in a statement.

The abuse occurred despite the archdiocese receiving written complaints accusing the coach, Juan Ivan Barajas, of having inappropriate relationships with other students at the all-girls San Gabriel Mission High School, the lawyers said.

"The archdiocese had many opportunities to put an end to Barajas, yet each time its administrators gave him yet another chance, and Barajas took full advantage of that lack of oversight and abused this vulnerable girl," said one of the lawyers, Dave Ring. "The victim is a courageous young lady who suffered tremendously given all she had to endure."

The archdiocese issued this statement: "The archdiocese recognizes that there was serious harm done to the life of the victim-survivor. We hope that the settlement will allow her to heal and move forward with her education and lifetime goals. The archdiocese apologizes for the impact that this caused in her life."

The student was a freshman in 2016 when Barajas, who was the volleyball coach as well as athletic director, began grooming her, the lawsuit says.

The coach, who was 36 at the time, began giving her special attention and having adult-style conversations with her, which eventually led to them kissing and engaging in sexual acts on the school grounds, the suit says.

The girl did not consent to the sexual acts and could not have legally done so because of her age, the lawsuit says.

When the coach's wife discovered the relationship, he drove the girl to Las Vegas, Nevada, and for five days tried to escape authorities by sleeping in his car and in secluded parks, the statement by the lawyers says. He was arrested in Nevada when police noticed his car and ran his tag through the National Crime Information Center.

The girl was returned to her family. She's now 18 years old.

The lawyers for the girl said people complained about the coach before he began sexually abusing the plaintiff.

Another coach at the school complained to the school principal in the 2014-15 school year that Barajas had behaved inappropriately with students and that he'd seen Barajas alone with a female student many times, in violation of school policy, the lawyers' statement said.

In the 2015-16 school year, written complaints about Barajas were received by the superintendent and assistant superintendent of Archdiocesan High Schools, the lawyers' statement says. Yet Barajas remained employed at the school, the lawyers said.

Barajas is now 39. He was convicted of statutory sexual seduction in Nevada and sentenced in March 2017 to 24 to 72 months in prison, court records show.

He pleaded no contest in Los Angeles to one count of oral copulation of a person under 16 and on January 31 was sentenced to another three years in prison, the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office said. That sentence is to run concurrent with any other sentence, according to the Los Angeles DA's office.

The lawsuit was filed in August 2017 against the archdiocese, the high school, Barajas and 30 "John Does" -- people whose employment the lawsuit said gave them a duty to protect the plaintiff or control Barajas.

The lawyers for the girl said this was the largest individual settlement for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles in a sex abuse case. CNN asked the archdiocese for comment on this statement but did not receive a response. CNN has not been able to independently confirm the statement.

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 19978

Reported Deaths: 338
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Multnomah460893
Washington292124
Marion275568
Umatilla214126
Clackamas146438
Malheur71512
Deschutes5558
Lane5403
Jackson4211
Lincoln4149
Yamhill40412
Union3922
Jefferson3323
Morrow3272
Polk30112
Linn26310
Klamath2001
Hood River1780
Wasco1723
Benton1626
Douglas1401
Josephine1082
Coos890
Columbia860
Clatsop830
Crook421
Baker360
Tillamook340
Lake320
Wallowa191
Curry140
Sherman140
Harney100
Gilliam40
Grant20
Unassigned00
Wheeler00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 530606

Reported Deaths: 9808
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Los Angeles1981654827
Riverside38487738
Orange38131665
San Bernardino34237487
San Diego30516568
Kern21433152
Fresno15945157
Alameda12136193
San Joaquin12034187
Santa Clara11030192
Sacramento10174148
Tulare10078193
Imperial9513232
Stanislaus9308135
Contra Costa8324131
Ventura787777
San Francisco708162
Santa Barbara652664
San Mateo5758120
Marin518076
Monterey496634
Merced458351
Kings445356
Solano380638
Sonoma320842
Madera211432
Placer199819
San Luis Obispo197016
Yolo161442
Santa Cruz11964
Butte10128
Napa10079
Sutter8406
San Benito6894
El Dorado6681
Lassen6320
Yuba5334
Shasta4049
Colusa3594
Glenn3462
Mendocino3419
Nevada3161
Tehama2491
Humboldt2454
Lake2111
Mono1461
Tuolumne1442
Amador1370
Calaveras1361
Del Norte900
Siskiyou880
Inyo661
Mariposa592
Plumas330
Trinity50
Modoc40
Sierra30
Alpine20
Unassigned00
Medford
Clear
59° wxIcon
Hi: 79° Lo: 51°
Feels Like: 59°
Brookings
Clear
62° wxIcon
Hi: 70° Lo: 57°
Feels Like: 62°
Crater Lake
Clear
48° wxIcon
Hi: 73° Lo: 43°
Feels Like: 48°
Grants Pass
Clear
55° wxIcon
Hi: 78° Lo: 50°
Feels Like: 55°
Klamath Falls
Clear
48° wxIcon
Hi: 76° Lo: 41°
Feels Like: 48°
Warming up into the weekend
KDRV Radar
KDRV Fire Danger
KDRV Weather Cam

Community Events