Moraga school district settles sex abuse lawsuits

The Moraga School District has settled two sexual abuse lawsuits and will pay $7 million each to two women allegedly abused by a former teacher, according to district superintendent Bruce Burns.

In a statement released Tuesday, Burns said:

“We want to again apologize to these women and to their families for the pain that was inflicted on them by former staff of the district. … They were innocent victims, abused at a young age by someone in a position of trust. The betrayal of that trust has caused real and lasting suffering.”

Former teacher Dan Witters was accused of sexually abusing a number of female students at Joaquin Moraga Intermediate School in the 1990s, according to the school district.

Witters committed suicide in 1996 after he was placed on administrative leave when the district became aware of the reported abuse.

The lawsuits, settled last week, alleged that the school district had prior notice of inappropriate behavior by Witters and should have taken action to protect students.

Burns said the school district hopes the settlement will allow the women and their families to continue to heal and move forward.

— Dennis Culver, Bay City News