Child Sexual Assault Survivor Tenisha Steen was Sexually Abused, Impregnated and Threatened by Teacher
(Costa Mesa, CA) – Attorneys from Greenberg Gross and Jeff Anderson & Associates have settled a lawsuit with the Santa Ana Unified School District on behalf of a child sexual abuse survivor. The Santa Ana Unified School District agreed to a seven figure settlement. The case was filed under the California Child Victims Act (AB 218), a law that allows survivors of child sexual abuse to file civil cases that were previously barred by the statute of limitations.
“I will always have to live with the trauma of the sexual abuse I endured when I was a child,” said Ms. Steen. “I went to school expecting to be safe. Instead, I was robbed of my innocence by a predator that the school protected. The settlement is just one step in my long journey to heal from the trauma.”
In 1983, Ms. Steen was a student at Santa Ana Valley High School. As alleged in the complaint, Gary Satrappe, a teacher at the school, used his position of authority to groom and sexually assault her repeatedly. The sexual assaults left her pregnant while she was still a student.
“Ms. Steen has been incredibly brave and resilient and we were honored to join her in her fight for justice,” said Greenberg Gross attorney Brian Williams. “Students should feel safe at schools. Santa Ana Unified failed to protect Ms. Steen and had yet to be held accountable. Fortunately, that ended through the settlement.”
At the time of the abuse, Satrappe threatened Ms. Steen and told her she could be expelled from school if she told others about the assaults. As noted in the complaint, Satrappe even told Ms. Steen that no one would believe her because of her race and because he, a white man, was a well-respected teacher within the Santa Ana community. In 1986, Ms. Steen first decided to speak out and filed a civil case against Satrappe. In connection with that case, Satrappe admitted to being the father and the jury found him liable.
“The settlement reached today would have not been possible without the California Child Victims Act,” said Jeff Anderson & Associates attorney Mike Reck. “We know that it takes survivors of child sexual abuse many years to come to terms with the abuse they endured and come forward. It is important that survivors like Ms. Steen have the opportunity to seek justice and hold accountable those who allowed and concealed the child abuse.”