San Francisco Unified School District has agreed to pay out $4.5 million in a lawsuit over the alleged sexual abuse of two female students by their former athletic director in a settlement agreement, according to a press release from the law firm that represented the victims.  

The victims, referred to as Jane Doe one and Jane Doe two, were enrolled at George Washington High School while Lawrence Young-Yet Chan served as the school’s athletic director. Chan allegedly sexually abused Jane Doe one from 2012 to 2016, and Jane Doe two between 2012 and 2013.

The victims allege Chan groomed them by buying them lunch, allowing them to drive his car to and from school, driving them in his vehicle, buying them gifts, stretching their bodies, taking them out to dinner, and having each plaintiff alone with him on school grounds, both during the school week and on weekends.

In 2017, Jane Doe one reported the abuse to San Francisco Police Department, but Chan was released for a lack of evidence, according to the case filed by San Jose law firm of Cerri, Boskovich & Allard.  

Despite police declining to pursue the case for lack of evidence, there was enough for the school district to agree to the settlement.

San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD) logo. (Photo courtesy of the San Francisco Unified School District)

“Had this case gone to trial, we were confident that a jury would likely return a verdict greater than the settlement amount,” Cerri said. “But in agreeing to the settlement, the two women were spared having to retell their stories and can now move forward and start to rebuild their lives.”

After his Chan was released for a lack of evidence, San Francisco Unified School District allowed Chan to resign via a confidential settlement agreement. In the settlement, Chan agreed not to seek references from the district in exchange for the district agreeing not to release his personnel files unless forced to do so by law enforcement or a legal request, according to legal files obtained by the Pagransen. 

The case alleges that another teacher excused Jane Doe one from class to report to Chan’s office, at which point he allegedly escorted her to the football locker room where he sexually assaulted her before sending her back to class. Although the other teacher thought the behavior was abnormal, they allowed her to leave class and did not report the behavior.  Jane Doe one was allegedly sexually assaulted in several ways — including oral copulation and sexual intercourse — in numerous places on school grounds. 

We hope that by shining light on the harm caused to victims of sexual abuse that school districts across California will err on the side of caution and make protection of  students a priority over the protection of educators and a district’s image.

Cerri, Boskovich & Allard Law firm

Chan allegedly began sexually abusing Jane Doe two by requesting she come to his office to ice a sports injury. Instead, he allegedly took her to a storage room where he checked her muscles before molesting her. After the initial incident, Chan repeatedly called her to his office after her sports’ practice to perform oral sex on him, according to the case files.

Their case was filed on Aug. 26, 2022, and the notice of settlement was filed on Dec. 7, 2023. Neither Chan nor the school district admitted fault in the settlement.

The victim’s lawyers are representing a similar sexual abuse case against the school district for incidents allegedly committed by a teacher at Lowell High School in the 2004 and 2005 school years.

“We hope that by shining light on the harm caused to victims of sexual abuse that school districts across California will err on the side of caution and make protection of  students a priority over the protection of educators and a district’s image,” Cerri said.