DENVER (CBS4) - The Cherry Creek School District agreed to an $11.5 million settlement with students sexually assaulted by a former teacher at Prairie Middle School.
Brian Vasquez pleaded guilty to three counts of sexual assault on a child by a person in a position of trust, pattern of abuse; one count of sexual exploitation of a child; one count of attempted sexual exploitation of a child; and one count of internet sexual exploitation of child.
Vasquez faces 40 years to life in prison when he is sentenced on Sept. 28.
He was arrested in August of 2017 after a former student told her father she exchanged sexually explicit text messages with Vasquez.
The suspect admitted to sexually explicit text messages to four other students. Officials say Vasquez later had sex with at least two of the underage girls.
Vasquez was fired from the Cherry Creek School District in September.
In January, three school staff members, a school prinicipal, a dean and a counselor, were indicted for failing to report child abuse when they were approached by one victim in 2013. While prosecutors dismissed the charge against the school's counselor, both the school's principal and dean face a misdemeanor charge for failure to report.
"This would've been very easy to prevent this tragedy but Cherry Creek chose to do something completely opposite of their legal responsibilities," said Qusair Mohamedbhai, an attorney representing four of the five victims.
On Monday, the district and the victims released the following joint statement:
"We acknowledge that no amount of money can right the wrongs committed against these students by Mr. Vasquez. No student should ever suffer the injury and loss of innocence that these young women suffered as a result of the reprehensible actions of Mr. Vasquez. The district is committed to doing right by these young women and their families and hopes this settlement brings some degree of closure so that they can move on with their lives and continue the healing process."
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