A $1.5 million settlement has been reached in civil lawsuits filed by the families of 13 former students alleging they were molested by a coach at a school gym in Illinois. The former coach is awaiting retrial on charges that he sexually abused seven minor girls. His 2005 conviction and 20-year prison sentence were overturned in 2008, when the Illinois Appellate Court ruled a different judge made evidentiary errors in the original trial. The coach’s mother, who owns the American Institute of Gymnastics, also was named in a civil suit that was part of the settlement.
The court has set a February 15th hearing to determine distribution of the money, which is not expected to be divided equally among the families. The coach originally was charged in 2002 with sexually abusing 14 girls in the gym. After a two-month trial in 2005, he was convicted of charges involving seven of the girls and acquitted of charges involving seven others. He also was acquitted of the most serious charges of predatory criminal sexual abuse. The gym’s insurance company will pay the full amount of the settlement.
Source: Chicago Tribune
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