He was 16, a student at Citrus Valley High School in California.
She was his 20-something English teacher.
In the summer of 2012 the pair started spending time together. She would drive him home from school functions and supply him with alcohol. Then, on an excursion to Disneyland, she grabbed his hand and professed she wanted to kiss him. Shortly after, they had sex in her apartment, beginning a relationship that lasted nearly a year.
In June 2013, she gave birth to their child; the 17-year-old father was at her side.
But the teen-teacher affair wasn’t to last.
Later that year, Laura Whitehurst was arrested following a complaint from the student’s parents. She was charged with 41 counts of unlawful sex acts with minors (including with two other students), and pleaded guilty to six.
Meanwhile the former student, whose name has been withheld, pursued legal action against the school district; it’s alleged that school officials and a fellow teacher knew about the relationship but neglected to report the abuse.
On Monday, he received a US$6 (7.86) million settlement as compensation.
“Physically, I feel sick to my stomach thinking about the manipulation I was subjected to,” the student, now 21, said.
“The size of this settlement represents the gravity of the damage done to this young victim and his family, and it also highlights the extreme malfeasance and neglect by school officials who turned a blind eye to the criminal conduct of a teacher and failed to protect a student,” added his lawyer, Vince W. Finaldo.
Whitehurst, now 29, served out six months of her one-year sentence behind bars. Today she is a registered sex offender who has been stripped of her teaching credentials, and wears a GPS-tracker at all times.
According to Redlands Daily Facts, Whitehurst is forbidden from making contact with her former student. The pair share custody of their child.