A San Luis Obispo County school district has agreed to pay a 9-year-old special needs student $10 million to settle a lawsuit after she was molested repeatedly by a school bus driver hired despite being convicted on a “peeping Tom” charge.
Bus driver David Lamb sexually abused the girl daily on his bus over six months in 2017 while working for Lucia Mar Unified School District, authorities alleged. A detective testified that the driver showed the child pornography, exposed himself and touched her. Lamb pled guilty to two counts of sexual abuse and was sentenced to 16 years in prison in 2019. He made the plea deal to avoid a life sentence on several other sex crime charges.
While juries have returned higher verdicts, the settlement is the largest of its kind for an individual case, according to attorneys David Ring and Robert May, who represented the child.
According to court filings, Lamb had a prior criminal conviction for a “peeping Tom” charge and failed to disclose that conviction on his initial employment application to the school district that serves Arroyo Grande.
In the lawsuit, attorneys for the girl alleged district officials learned of Lamb’s conviction and informed him he was automatically disqualified from ever working at the district. But three months later, with the help of the district’s transportation supervisor, Lamb was hired as a bus driver, according to court filings by the girl’s attorney.
“The District violated its own rules by hiring Lamb,” Ring said. “They were desperate for bus drivers; they didn’t care that they were hiring a man with a history of sex crimes.”
District officials did not reply to calls for comment.
According to court documents, Lamb would often pull off the road and park in a secluded area and then sexually abuse the girl.
According to the suit, the district transportation supervisor had a bus surveillance video in her possession that captured a recent incident of Lamb molesting the girl. But the supervisor never watched the entire tape, claiming she “saw nothing unusual” on it.