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School Must Pay $802,000 in Rape Claim

<i> From Associated Press</i>

A parochial school in San Juan Capistrano has been ordered to pay $802,000 in compensation to a teenager who said she was raped by her English teacher.

A federal court ordered the payment in a civil case Tuesday after a jury found that St. Margaret’s Episcopal School and headmaster Mark Campaigne violated sexual harassment laws by not protecting the girl, who is now 19.

Teacher Michael Hays is a fugitive from Los Angeles police, who are investigating because the alleged rape took place in Westwood.

“This was a bad guy,” plaintiff’s attorney Richard Farnell said. “Everybody at the school saw this going on . . . and they did nothing about it.”

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Campaigne said he and the school were sorry for the girl, but he still did not believe there was negligence. School authorities never had an indication that Hays’ conduct was improper, he said.

Court documents allege that he seduced several girls during his seven years at the school.

The girl told police that Hays took her to his Westwood apartment, gave her marijuana and champagne, and had sex with her against her wishes in December 1996, when she was 16. Hays disappeared shortly afterward.

“It’s been hard not knowing. But I just know that they’re going to find him, and I live in that hope,” the victim said.

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A confidential settlement was reached on punitive damages.


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