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State settles alleged Kipapa Elementary abuse case

By Star-Advertiser Staff

LAST UPDATED: 12:45 p.m. HST, Apr 28, 2014

The state has agreed to settle three alleged abuse cases against Kipapa Elementary School employees for a total of $190,000.

The parents of three special education students last year sued the state, alleging "cruel and unusual punishment" and abuse of their daughters at the hands of school employees.

Named in the suit were the school's principal, Corinne Yogi, who the families say failed to intervene, report the abuse or inform the students' parents, along with a special education teacher, an educational aide and schools Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi.

The payout is to be split three ways, with each plaintiff awarded $63,333.33.

The settlement amount was recently added to legislation seeking nearly $3 million to satisfy more than 30 claims against the state. The bill is set for final approval before the Legislature adjourns this week.

The parties in the cases informed the court earlier this month that they had reached a settlement, but details at the time were not included in court records. 

The federal lawsuits say the girls -- who were between 7 and 8 years old at the time of the alleged abuse -- were denied proper special education services and that the abuse caused physical injuries constituting assault and battery, and severe emotional distress.

The complaints describe alleged abusive acts during the 2010-11 school year against the girls, who all suffer from developmental disorders, including limited speech skills.

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