Mary Kay Letourneau redux: Spokane school district agrees to pay multimillion dollar teacher sex abuse settlement

By Darrell Cochran Law

Spokane school district agrees to pay $2.05 Million, legal fees to settle teacher/student sex case reminiscent of Mary Kay Letourneau

Tacoma, WA – January 19, 2024 – The Central Valley School District of Spokane, WA. has agreed to pay $2.05 million to settle a lawsuit brought on behalf of a student groomed and sexually abused by his high school teacher. The settlement was announced by Darrell Cochran, Founding Partner of Pfau, Cochran, Vertetis and Amala of Tacoma.

The abuse took place at Spokane’s University High School in 2019. Jayleen Bowman was hired full time and assigned to work 1:1 with the victim during the 14 year old boys’ freshman year. She immediately began grooming the student – who had documented disabilities – for her own sexual gratification. Reminiscent of the notorious Mary Kay Letourneau case, Bowman initiated frequent, inappropriate engagements with the boy including daily meetups outside of school. She also began providing him with illegal drugs in and out of the classroom.

Bowman’s husband caught the pair in her car and reported her to police. She was subsequently arrested, charged and convicted. The District fired her.
According to Cochran, “there were plenty of warning signs and red flags about Bowman the school should and could have easily picked up on and prevented this abuse. After everything we learned about predatory teachers from the Mary Kay LeTourneau case, this should have never happened,” Cochran said.

The abuse had devastating impacts on the boy. He suffered tremendous trauma and significant difficulties in school. He has also struggled with relations with women and substance abuse he attributes directly to the sexual abuses.

Along with the base settlement, the District also agreed to pay an additional $285,000 in legal fees, according to Cochran.
The suit and settlement is critical to prompting policy changes in school districts state and nationwide to prevent future similar abuses and protect vulnerable students from predators, according to Cochran.

“There are over 200 school districts in the state of Washington alone,” Cochran said. “Many of them still have the belief they are immune from having these types of predators within their hallways. This reinforces key lessons and the need for continued vigilance and trainings.”

In addition to Cochran, the student received expert legal counsel from attorneys Bridget Grotz, Kevin Hastings and their team at PCVA, and Spokane-based attorney Thomas Farrell.

For more information or to schedule an interview, contact:
Josh Kerns for Cochran Law