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Attorneys: School district pays $10m settlement for negligence after bus driver molested 9-year-old

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Posted at 3:11 PM, May 24, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-24 22:34:03-04

Lucia Mar Unified School District agreed to pay $10 million to settle a lawsuit alleging negligence after a district bus driver repeatedly molested a 9-year-old girl over the course of several months in 2017, the victim's attorneys say.

The lawsuit was settled on May 20, 2022, five years after the abuse first occurred, attorneys David Ring and Robert May said.

David Lamb, now 53, was a bus driver for LMUSD assigned to drive a 9-year-old special needs girl from her house to school. Attorneys say she was the only student on the bus during the 20-minute ride.

On April 6, May 9 and May 16, 2017, GPS data showed Lamb's bus making unscheduled stops for 10 minutes. Attorneys say Lamb would pull off the road, park in a secluded area and sexually abuse the girl while threatening her to say nothing about it.

Surveillance footage taken inside the bus on April 7 showed Lamb in the driver's seat before he appeared to direct the girl to sit behind him in a seat off-camera. After bringing the bus to a stop, Lamb can be seen moving from the driver's seat and pausing beside the girl's seat, though his face is not visible.

"There's no doubt in your mind what he's doing to this girl," Dave Ring, the victim's attorney, told KSBY back in 2018. "He thinks he's off camera. He's not."

On April 10, 2017, the girl's parents reached out to Lucia Mar district officials after she told them Lamb had shown her inappropriate videos and "touched her", according to information shared by her lawyers.

The district agreed to review security footage from the bus, attorneys say, but did not watch the whole thing. The transportation supervisor claimed that she saw nothing unusual within the footage.

Attorneys say was not until the San Luis Obispo Sheriff's Office got involved and got the footage that Lamb was arrested.

On April 24, 2019, Lamb was sentenced to 16 years in state prison after entering a plea agreement.

Lucia Mar school district reportedly hired Lamb even after learning that he had lied on his employment application to the district by leaving out a criminal conviction for peeping, attorneys say.

"The district failed to protect this vulnerable young girl from its predator bus driver, who should never have been hired in the first instance because of his criminal record," Ring said. "Once hired, the district failed to properly supervise [Lamb] even after receiving complaints about his suspicious behavior while driving the bus."

The civil case was filed in 2018 but was delayed by COVID-19 backlogs, attorneys say. The case was set to go to trial when a settlement was reached in May 2022.

KSBY reached out to the Lucia Mar Unified School District following the settlement. The district responded:

"The Lucia Mar Unified School District is deeply saddened that our student endured this abuse by Mr. Lamb. His behavior violated our trust and our student safety protocols. We do not tolerate abuse and we condemn the actions of David Lamb. We are hopeful that after five years, both the settlement and the conviction foster the healing process for the victim and our schools. This incident has prompted us to reexamine our safety standards, reporting procedures, and staff training to prevent this type of unacceptable, egregious behavior from happening again."