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LA Archdiocese Settles Sex Abuse Suit Against San Gabriel Catholic School Coach For $8M

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – The Archdiocese of Los Angeles has reached an $8 million settlement over a lawsuit in which an athletic director and coach at an all-girls Catholic school in San Gabriel was convicted of sexually abusing a 15-year-old student and then running off with her to Nevada.

Juan Ivan Barajas
An undated photo of Juan Ivan Barajas. (Los Angeles Police Department)

The settlement, which attorneys for the plaintiff claim was largest ever paid out by the Archdiocese of L.A. for a single victim of sex abuse, was announced Tuesday by attorneys Dave Ring and Sonya Ostovar.

In August of 2016, Juan Ivan Barajas, a then 36-year-old athletic director at San Gabriel Mission High School, was arrested in Nevada after Los Angeles police said he took a 15-year-old girl and fled there when their relationship was discovered by family members.

Barajas was prosecuted in Nevada and eventually pleaded guilty to statutory sexual seduction and was sentenced to three years in prison.

According to the complaint, the victim was a ninth-grader in the second semester of the 2015-16 school year and Barajas was her coach when the inappropriate interaction began.

Barajas gave the girl special attention beginning in February 2016 and began adult-oriented conversations with her, the suit alleges. The next month, he kissed her and his actions progressed to sex acts with the girl at various locations on campus, including his office during school hours, according to the complaint.

In July 2016, Barajas took the girl to Nevada after finding out that his wife had discovered his relationship with the teen, the suit states. He was eventually arrested in Henderson, near Las Vegas, according to the complaint.

(© Copyright 2019 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)

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