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School district pays out $375k to student who slept with bodybuilder gym teacher

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Joseph Geha and Angela Ruggiero
The Mercury News

The Fremont Unified School District paid out a $375,000 settlement to a former student who was 16 when his 32-year-old gym teacher had sex with him, according to documents obtained by this news organization.

The boy and his family filed a lawsuit against the district in 2017, accusing Corine “Cory” Audiat of grooming her students at Washington High School by enticing them with months of flirtation, texting and open displays of affection, such as hugging.

The suit claimed Audiat inflicted emotional distress on the student, and that the district and its employees should have seen the red flags raised by Audiat’s behavior sooner, and reported any suspicious activity.

“We knew this settlement wasn’t going to be confidential, and that it would send a message to other districts: You have to take proactive measures, or you’re going to be held accountable,” said the boy’s attorney, Mark Boskovich.

His client agreed to a settlement because of the already-grueling ordeal he had to go through; when news broke of the allegations, news media went to his high school campus when he was a senior. The lawsuit claimed the boy, now an adult, also suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder, had trouble sleeping and concentrating on academics.

“There has been some progress made in this area, but it (sexual assault of minors) is still a problem, and it happens across genders,” Boskovich said.

A district spokesperson declined to comment about the settlement, which was agreed upon in January between the district’s attorneys, the boy and his attorney.

The school district also spent $25,000 on its own legal defense fees for the civil suit, according to a district risk manager.

Source: Fremont Police Department

Audiat was originally named in this civil lawsuit, but removed in March 2018. She and the boy’s attorney’s also agreed to a settlement, in which she had to cooperate with the civil case, including potential testimony during trial. Besides admitting to the crime, she also paid $4,000 in restitution directly to the victim, and turned over her cellphone, which had relevant evidence on it, Boskovich said.

In May 2016, Audiat texted the boy that she wanted to pull him into the gym equipment room and kiss him, according to the lawsuit. The relationship turned sexual the next month, it said.

Fremont police began investigating Audiat on Nov. 23, 2016, after receiving a tip that she had been involved with a male student. She was arrested soon after.

In the separate criminal case, Audiat agreed to a plea deal with the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office in late 2017 in which she pleaded no contest to having unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor, commonly known as statutory rape, and oral copulation of a person under 18, in the summer of 2016; both are felonies.

Four other felony charges, including three of contacting a minor for sex and one of sending harmful material to a minor with sexual intent, were dropped, as was a misdemeanor child molestation charge.

In February 2018, she was sentenced to 180 days of home arrest with an ankle monitor. Prosecutors previously said Audiat would have to register as a sex offender, stay away from the victim for 10 years, and complete 150 hours of community service.

She was also forced to surrender her teacher’s credential, meaning she can no longer teach children.

Audiat had taught at Washington since 2012 and in the Fremont Unified School District since 2008.

Audiat had also served as a swim coach at Mission San Jose High School in Fremont, and for an East Bay Swim League team in Fremont called the Glenmoor Stingrays.

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©2019 the San Jose Mercury News (San Jose, Calif.)

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