Multnomah County, OR (KPTV) — On Friday, jurors in Multnomah County ruled in favor of a woman who said her former elementary school principal molested her in his office, awarding her $3 million.
While the case was tasked with matters now over a decade old, the jury overwhelmingly agreed, 11-1, that they had enough evidence to rule that former principal Jeffery Hays did molest his former student.
That woman, who wished to stay unnamed, as she is the victim of a sex crime, claimed Hays molested her in his Deep Creek Elementary School office from second through fourth grade. She was only 7-years-old when he first molested her.
“Vindication is the best thing I’ve ever felt,” she said.
Her attorney, Greg Kafoury, described a “monstrous” pattern of behavior that led his office to file a civil lawsuit against Hays.
“Three million dollars is an enormous verdict, the number of three million dollar verdicts in Oregon is a trivial number,” Kafoury said. “It’s very rare that you see an award that large.”
Speaking to fox 12 Friday evening, the woman described abuse that took place entirely inside Hay’s office, where he allegedly held personal tutoring sessions with students that would last “hours”, the plaintiff’s claimed.
“I very much believe that there are more out there like me and they’re scared, just as I was,” she said.
Ultimately, Hays never appeared at the trial; In a deposition, Hays repeated, “on advice from counsel, I decline to answer.”
A reply that didn’t sit well with the plaintiffs.
“I would think anybody who’s accused of abusing little children who believed themselves to be innocent would want the world to hear them,” Kafoury said.
This isn’t the only award to a victim tied to Hays. Last week, the Gresham-Barlow School District agreed on a $425,000 settlement with another unnamed female victim.
While according to Kafoury, a third, male victim, has come forward and is seeking damages.
According to the plaintiff’s, Hays, who was principal of Deep Creek from 2005 to 2009, would hold personal math instruction lessons with boys and girls of all grades. Victims described during the trial that Hays would close the door and shut the blinds.
“Education 101 is you’re never alone with a kid in a room with the door closed… and he had complete privacy in there, the door closed the blinds down,” Kafoury said. “They should have called him on it.”
Hays, who moved to City View Charter School in Hillsboro before mutually agreeing to leave that post in 2018, could not be reached for comment.
Despite the civil ruling, Hays still has not been charged with a crime, and has not been required to register as a sex offender.
Police did investigate his behavior in 2017, their findings were forwarded to the Clackamas County District Attorney’s office. No action was taken.
The plaintiff’s hope this civil ruling will spark a criminal investigation and compel other victims to come forward.
“We’ve gathered a tremendous amount of evidence in putting this case together, which should be of assistance to the DA’s office in getting this man off the street,” Kafoury said.
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