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Proposed $5.7M settlement of abuse lawsuit gets preliminary OK

By Nelson Daranciang

LAST UPDATED: 12:46 a.m. HST, Feb 20, 2013

A federal judge granted preliminary approval Tuesday to a proposed $5.75 million class-action settlement of a lawsuit accusing the state of allowing and covering up years of sexual abuse of students at Hawaii School for the Deaf and Blind.

The plaintiffs claim that as many as 35 current and former students were abused on the Kapahulu public school’s campus and on school buses since Aug. 10, 2001.

The lawsuit, filed in 2011 by Hono­lulu attorney Michael Green, alleged that a group of students “bullied, terrorized, assaulted, robbed, sodomized (and) raped” younger students at the school.

According to a timetable set by U.S. Magistrate Judge Kevin S.C. Chang, the state must publish in the newspaper a notice of the proposed settlement for four consecutive weeks starting no later than Monday and mail notices to affected people by March 8.

Anyone who may qualify for compensation but wishes not to participate in the settlement has until

April 5 to opt out. People will have a chance to state their objections in court on April 22, when Chang considers final approval.

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