A lawsuit that alleged a Baltimore Catholic elementary school teacher fondled five girls has been settled, with families of the five victims to receive $425,000 from the Archdiocese of Baltimore.
The settlement of the lawsuit, which named David A. Czajkowski, the St. Thomas Aquinas School in Hampden and the archdiocese, was reached Thursday, said Paul Mark Sandler, a lawyer representing the families.
Czajkowski, 39, pleaded guilty in May last year to three counts of child sexual abuse for fondling fourth- and fifth-grade pupils at the school. He was sentenced to five years in prison and apologized at his sentencing to the girls he molested.
The suit alleges that the fondling began in the spring of 2001, but school administrators did not remove Czajkowski from the school until February last year.
Sandler said the families wanted to settle the lawsuit out of court.
"The question was whether the children should be put through a strenuous legal process," Sandler said. "The parents would not let their children go through a trial."
Archdiocese spokesman Ryan C. O'Doherty said the settlement money will come from an insurance policy that the archdiocese holds to offset expenses in sex abuse cases. "We are deeply troubled that David Czajkowski harmed children," O'Doherty said in a written statement.
Czajkowski, a former fourth-grade teacher, also was a tutor and baby sitter for some of his pupils in his home in Hamilton. He was fired from his position at St. Thomas Aquinas School in February last year after he was arrested for sex abuse.
Prosecutors originally charged Czajkowski with 17 criminal counts, including sexual child abuse and assault in the touching of 11 girls at the school and at his house.
Some of the girls said the teacher would write problems high on the blackboard so that he could lift them up.