LAFAYETTE — Ascension Episcopal School’s insurance company has agreed to pay a former student who was sexually abused by a former school counselor at least $2 million in structured settlement payments, according to court documents.
The judgment was entered Wednesday in the 15th Judicial District Courthouse.
The girl’s parents sued the private school in March 2010, alleging Allison Hargrave, a counselor, yoga instructor and chapel coordinator at the school, had sexual relations with the 14-year-old girl at school during school hours and at Hargrave’s home.
The relationship occurred at some point during the 2009-10 school year and did not end until the parents discovered emails between their daughter and Hargrave on Feb. 16, 2010.
Hargrave was later charged in federal court with attempting to entice a minor to engage in criminal sexual activity. She resigned from the school in March 2010.
In August 2011, U.S. District Judge Richard T. Haik sentenced Hargrave, 40 at the time, to 30 years in prison and ordered her to pay $279,454 in restitution to the girl.
During the sentencing hearing, Assistant U.S. Attorney Luke Walker asked the girl if Hargrave raped her.
“Yes,” the girl replied.
The girl said the incident occurred in a medical office in Lafayette that belonged to Hargrave’s now ex-husband.
As a result of the incident, the girl told the court she became suicidal, developed an inability to trust people and was forced to seek treatment at a residential treatment center in Denham Springs.
The lawsuit sought damages for both the girl and her parents.
The Advocate does not identify victims of sexual abuse and is therefore withholding the names of the girl and her parents.
Ascension Episcopal School released the following statement to The Advocate on Friday:
“We are grateful for a mutually agreed resolution to an honestly painful matter caused by the crimes committed by Dr. Hargrave,” the statement said. “We continue to pray for the victim, the victim’s family and the community as it continues to heal.”
The civil judgment awarded the victim lifetime payments of $3,245 beginning on April 24, 2018, with 480 payments guaranteed through March 24, 2058. The girl will also receive five lump sum payments of $20,000 in five-year increments beginning on April 25, 2025. On April 25, 2050, she will receive a lump sum payment of $386,702, according to the judgment.
The judgment in the girl’s case was made public because her parents were assigned as the girl’s tutor.
No information was publicly available regarding whether the girl’s parents received a separate settlement from the school.
However, Mike Remondet, former board chairman and current vice chair of Ascension Episcopal School, said the matter is now resolved for all parties and in all aspects. Remondet said a confidentiality agreement between the parties prevents him from discussing the case.
The family’s attorney, Anthony J. Fontana Jr., also declined to discuss the case.
Hargrave, who also was a non-practicing psychiatrist, was arrested June 2, 2010 while undergoing treatment for an unspecified sexual addiction disorder at Pine Grove Behavioral Health and Addiction Services in Hattiesburg, Miss.
An expert in psychiatry testified during Hargrave’s detention hearing July 7, 2010 that Hargrave could be suffering from an unspecified sexual disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder and a major recurrent depressive disorder.
Hargrave’s medical license was suspended June 7, according to the state Board of Medical Examiners’ website.
Former headmaster Pat Dickens resigned on Sept. 16, 2010 “in the best interest of the school,” according to an AES statement.
He resigned more than two months after allegations that he had an affair with Hargrave surfaced.
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