IPS pays $600K to settle counselor sex abuse lawsuits

Indianapolis Public Schools paid almost $600,000 to settle three lawsuits in a case involving a former school counselor who was accused of having sex with students.

The school board approved them nearly two weeks ago without disclosing the amount. The Indianapolis Star obtained the financial details of the settlements through public records requests.

The lawsuits arose from allegations that former counselor Shana Taylor had sex with two teenage students while working for the district in 2015 and 2016.

Taylor was sentenced to six years of home detention in 2017 after pleading guilty to three felony counts of dissemination of matter harmful to minors. Taylor admitted to sending nude photos of herself to two minors.

Prosecutors agreed to drop the other charges against her, which included child seduction and contributing to the delinquency of a minor. Taylor wasn't required to register as a sex offender, but she agreed to relinquish her teaching license.

In one of the cases settled by the district, a male student who said Taylor sexually abused and harassed him sued for negligence and other charges.

The district denied the allegations and settled the case for $95,000, according to court records.

Court records show at least 12 district officials knew of the allegations against Taylor nearly a week before they were reported to the Indiana Department of Child Services. Indiana law mandates anyone who learns of suspected abuse or neglect to immediately report it to the child services agency or law enforcement.

Two district officials were fired in the aftermath of case. They sued the district and school board members, alleging they were wrongfully terminated and denied due process.

The lawsuits were settled together for a total of $500,000.

Ahmed Young, the district's chief of staff and general counsel, said they're pleased to resolve the matters.

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