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Urbana student gets $125,000 in White lawsuit

Pantagraph (Bloomington, IL) - 5/24/2016

May 24--NORMAL -- An Urbana student will receive $125,000 to resolve a lawsuit against McLean County Unit 5 related to former teacher Jon White, who was convicted of molesting children in his Unit 5 and Urbana classrooms.

The Normal-based school district will split the payment to the student with an insurance company that provided coverage in 2008 when the lawsuit was filed in Champaign County. Each will pay $62,500.

Terms of the agreement with the child identified as Jane Doe 3 were disclosed by Unit 5 on Monday in response to a Freedom of Information Act request from The Pantagraph. Both sides agreed to keep the terms of the lawsuit confidential, but the Freedom of Information Act requires public bodies to disclose information related to expenses paid with taxpayer money or decisions made on behalf of a public entity.

Unit 5 admits no liability for the minor's claim that Unit 5 allowed White to be "passed" to another school district after he was forced to resign in 2005. His departure came amid complaints from a mother than the teacher was following her daughter and making inappropriate remarks.

After White left Colene Hoose Elementary School in Normal, he took a job teaching second-graders at Thomas Paine School in Urbana. School officials in Urbana were not aware of the reasons behind White's departure from Unit 5, which occurred before the end of the school year. according to Ellyn Bullock, the Champaign lawyer who has spent the past eight years representing White's victims.

White pleaded guilty in 2008 to 10 counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse in McLean and Champaign counties. He is serving 60 years in prison.

Eight counts involved the molestation of nine students in 2005 and 2006 in his second-grade classroom at Paine. Two others involved two students at Hoose, where he taught first grade during the 2004-05 school year.

The allegations of molestation at Hoose did not emerge until after the Urbana cases came to light.

The lawsuits by Urbana students have resulted in $2.6 million in claims, and Unit 5 students have been paid more than $1 million, with $244,000 coming from the Normal district and the remainder from insurance coverage.

Follow Edith Brady-Lunny on Twitter: @pg_blunny


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