A two-year-old sexual assault misconduct suit against the Yakima School District has been settled, according to information released by a Mid-Columbia legal firm.

Tamaki Law offices announced Wednesday just weeks before the case was due to go to trial against the District, the case was settled out of court for $500,000. It concerned the behavior and subsequent actions by the District concerning a Franklin Middle school para educator.

According to a statement released by the law firm:

"The lawsuit, filed in  August 2017, alleged that the district botched the investigation and discipline of a parapro who was caught sexually grooming a 12-year-old female student on school grounds in December 2014. The parapro, Aristeo Garcia Rubio (Garcia), was placed on administrative leave with pay after the student’s mother caught him walking her daughter home from school. The district’s investigation revealed Garcia lying about his behavior, which involved walking the girl home from school, giving her gifts, asking her about her boyfriends and home life, and commenting on her good looks. Although Garcia violated school policy regarding sexual harassment of students, and despite the fact that the school’s principal urged his removal for the safety of her students, the district allowed Garcia to keep his job as a parapro at the student’s school. The district suspended Garcia for 5 days with pay, and released him to return to his regular duties as a parapro at Franklin Middle School in February 2015.  After Garcia returned to his regular duties, he began having contact again with the 12-year-old girl he was caught sexually grooming just weeks before. He continued to groom her and ultimately raped her at his home in May 2015. Garcia was convicted of Rape of a Child in the 2nd degree regarding that incident and is now serving a prison sentence for that conviction."

According to law firm officials, school district administrators did admit Garcia's behavior raised several "red flags" but did not take significant action until the victim's mother "blew the whistle."