COMMERCE CITY, Colo. — Adams County School District 14 has agreed to a $5 million settlement with a former student who was sexually abused by her teacher.
Gilbert Trujillo was sentenced to 25 years to life in 2017 for sexually abusing two students, though he was originally charged with molesting six girls.
Attorneys Daniel Sloane and Michael Kane of the Denver Trial Lawyers firm told investigative reporter Rob Low the settlement is the highest known individual settlement in Colorado history for claims brought against a school district.
The girl they represent is now 18 years old, but was a 9-year-old fourth grader at Dupont Elementary when she was molested by Trujillo.
In an exclusive interview with the Problem Solvers in 2017, the girl said, “He made me sit on his lap and he would take his penis out and he would have his fun.”
The girl, who requested anonymity, also said, “Sometimes I would be crying and he wouldn’t care.”
The girl’s father, who also requested anonymity, told Low that he and his wife made complaints to the principal and school district in 2010 but were ignored.
“We couldn’t get a straight answer out of anybody. Whether we called the school board and left messages, whether we called the school itself and left messages. Tried to talk to anybody there, they refused to talk to us,” he said.
The Adams 14 school district declined to answer questions about the settlement but shared a letter with FOX31 that it sent to the Adams 14 community:
Dear Adams 14 Parents and Guardians:
We have been made aware that media outlets intend to publish a story concerning a claim of sexual assault on a child by former District employee, Gilbert Trujillo. Mr. Trujillo was employed as a teacher here in 2011 when he committed the criminal behavior.
While Mr. Trujillo is and will remain behind bars, the District is deeply saddened by his abhorrent conduct. Student safety and well-being are of paramount importance in Adams County School District 14, and it is doing everything in its power to ensure all students are safe at school.
As to information about Mr. Trujillo’s minor-aged victims, Adams County School District 14 greatly values and protects student privacy as required by federal law.
Sloane told the Problem Solvers that $3.5 million of the settlement will be paid by the Colorado School District Self-Insurance Pool and the remaining $1.5 million will come straight from the Adams 14 district school budget.