The Santa Barbara Unified School District has settled a lawsuit where former teacher Matef Harmachis was accused of sexual harassment, groping and assault.
According to a press release, Harmachis “repeatedly sexually harassed, groped and assaulted the victim while she was a 16- and 17-year-old student at Santa Barbara High School.”
The settlement with the victim, identified as Jane OB Doe, was for $950,000.
“I have never seen a case where a school district ignored so many red flags and allowed a dangerous individual to have unfettered access to vulnerable students,” said Morgan Stewart, the attorney for the victim, identified as Jane OB Doe.
The lawsuit alleged that Harmachis “had a 15-year history of inappropriate behavior with students and was reprimanded over the course of several years.”
At one point, in 2004, there was an altercation with a student, and then it was further discovered that he had been making sexually inappropriate comments to female students over the course of the school year, according to the attorney’s press release.
In 2017, Harmachis was charged with the battery of Jane OB Doe, according to the press release.
He pleaded no contest and received a criminal sentence. As a result, he had his teaching credential revoked by the state, and he was terminated by the district in March 2020.