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Judge OKs $5.75M settlement in sex abuse case against school

By Nelson Daranciang

LAST UPDATED: 6:30 p.m. HST, Apr 22, 2013

A federal judge granted final approval this morning of a $5.75 million settlement over allegations of students at the Hawaii School for the Deaf and Blind sexually abusing other students and a cover up by state education officials.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Kevin S.C. Chang said he found that “the proposed settlement is fundamentally fair, adequate and reasonable.”

The state is responsible for paying $5 million of the settlement. 

Scott O’Neal, a former counselor at the school, is responsible for paying $750,000.

The state also agreed to make a number of safety improvements, where feasible, at the Kapahulu campus and in school buses. 

The school serves students in kindergarten through grade 12 and is the only public school in the state for deaf and blind students.

Students who were sexually abused at the school or on school buses by other students or school staff since Aug. 10, 2001 are to receive payments of $20,000, $75,000 and $200,000 based on how their experiences affected them.

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