KSD settles former students' lawsuit involving sexual abuse case
KENNEWICK, Wash. - Kennewick School District (KSD) has settled a lawsuit Thursday regarding a former teacher who was convicted of sexually abusing students. The lawsuit was brought by three former students who claim the district failed to protect them from being sexually abused by a teacher and coach.
Initial court documents show that 15 men were seeking damages of more than $50 million from the Kennewick School District, claiming that administrators and teachers were aware of a coach William Pickerel's out-of-town sport trips with male students, but never stopped them.
The now 81-year-old Pickerel pleaded guilty in King County in 2008 to molestation and sexual misconduct with a minor for molesting five Tri-City boys.
He is out of prison after serving five-and-a-half years of a 10-year sentence.
Pickerel is a once-popular Kennewick High School teacher. Popular enough to have a wing once named for him.
That was until the district learned Pickerel had been sexually assaulting students for years, then the district removed his name.
Pickerel once admitted he had so many victims, he lost count.
Action News visited the attorney’s office representing the alleged victim’s, but were told there would be no interviews.
In a statement the attorneys said:
“Our clients are satisfied with the settlement and appreciate the support they have received through this difficult process,” said Jeff Kreutz and Megan Chang-Ngaruiya, the attorneys on the case for Tamaki Law.
The confidential settlement covered the three men in the first civil trial that began earlier this week with jury selection in Benton County Superior Court.
The Kennewick School District provided a prepared press statement:
“We are glad that we are able to resolve these claims so we can avoid potentially painful litigation for the victims, and for our current and former staff members who would be required to testify,” Superintendent Dave Bond said.
The statement went on to say that there “will be no further statement issued by the district regarding the settlement.”
The School Districts attorney did not respond to Action News’s request for comment.
No one is disclosing details of the settlement.